We have the Apple Watch, so is it time for the “Apple Glove?”Apple has filed for another patent (number 20190101981) for such a wearable (an “IMU-based glove”), which would likely be used in conjunction with the anticipated Apple Glasses, an augmented reality headset.
The patent is for a VR glove that can measure the movement of individual finger and thumb bones. It can include a plurality of inertial measurement units (IMUs) to track the movement of one or more finger and/or hand sections. The IMUs can include one or more motion sensors, such as a gyroscope and an accelerometer, for measuring the orientation, position, and velocity of objects (e.g., finger bones) that the IMU can be attached.
An IMU can be located proximate to a finger (or thumb) bone and can measure the inertial motion of the corresponding bone. In some examples, the VR glove may include magnetometers to determine the direction of the geo-magnetic field. The VR glove can also include one or more other electronic components, such as a plurality of electrodes for sensing the heading, enabling capacitive touch, and/or contact sensing between finger tips.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that virtual reality (VR) technology can be used for many applications such as military training, educational learning, and video games. VR technology can use one or more electronic devices to simulate a virtual environment and the user's physical presence in that virtual environment. One type of VR technology is augmented reality (AR) technology, where the user's real environment can be supplemented with computer-generated objects or content. Another type of VR technology is mixed reality (MR) technology, where the user's real environment and the virtual environment can be blended together.
A previously filed patent (number 20190004604) also involved an “Apple Glove.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.