Apple patent filing involves a foveate display for an HMD

Apple has filed for yet another patent (number 20190172399) regarding its believed-to-be-in-the-works “Apple Glasses,” a head-mounted display (HDM) expected to arrive in 2020 or 2021.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that an electronic device such as a head-mounted device for augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) purposes may have displays that are viewable by the eyes of a viewer through lenses. The display may have regions of lower and higher resolution to reduce data bandwidth and power consumption for the display while preserving satisfactory image quality. 

Foveated display.png

In some configurations, per Apple’s plans, the lower and higher resolution portions of the display may be dynamically adjustable using dynamically adjustable gate driver circuitry and dynamically adjustable data line driver circuitry. This would reduce “visible discontinuities” between the lower and higher resolution portions. 

Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent filing: “An electronic device such as a head-mounted device may have displays. The display may have regions of lower (L) and higher (M, H) resolution to reduce data bandwidth and power consumption for the display while preserving satisfactory image quality. Data lines may be shared by lower and higher resolution portions of a display or different portions of a display with different resolutions may be supplied with different numbers of data lines. 

“Data line length may be varied in transition regions between lower resolution and higher resolution portions of a display to reduce visible discontinuities between the lower and higher resolution portions. The lower and higher resolution portions of the display may be dynamically adjusted using dynamically adjustable gate driver circuitry and dynamically adjustable data line driver circuitry."

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.