Apple looks into an AR device that would help the visually impaired

Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,347,050) for an “augmented reality device to warp images” that would help the visually impaired. It seems to involve a totally different device than the long-rumored augmented reality/virtual reality headset that’s dubbed “Apple Glasses.”

The invention is for displaying a warped area that includes obtaining an image of a real environment, obtaining a portion of a field of view comprising an obstruction, determining a portion of the image of the real environment corresponding to the obstruction, applying a warping function to an area surrounding the portion of the image of the real environment corresponding to the obstruction to obtain a warped area, and displaying the warped area.

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In the patent filing, Apple notes that many types of visual impairment may result in partial loss of sight, or weakened sight. Visual impairments may be the result of any number of health issues, such as diabetes, old age, retina issues, and the like. As an example, some people develop floaters or blind spots in their eye which cause obstructions in a person's visual field. The result is that people often have to compensate for blind spots and other obstructions and impairments by viewing only portions of a scene at a time. 

Thus, the full field of view is never made available at once. Apparently, Apple is at least considering an AR device that would aid folks with such impairments.

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.