In the rotunda of Apple's headquarters, the iPhone maker may be working on a new hybrid reality helmet, or HMD. According to a newly published patent first noticed by Apple, possible devices use a waveguide display system with an adjustable lens. |
According to documents released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the new helmet display system has been conceptualized and looks thinner and more modern than solutions provided by other vendors. It also shows an "ideal level of optical performance". The potential device could allow end users to overwrite computer-generated content on real-world content, according to the filing. The headset display will be bundled with iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Apple points out that in AR mode, users can view real-world content directly through the transparent part of the optical system. In another mode, the real world will be captured by a face camera on the helmet display. The optical system may be used to route the image from one or more pixel arrays or scanning devices in the display system to the eyes of the viewer.
The optical system may include waveguides formed by one or more pieces of transparent material (such as glass or plastic) or other light guides, such as thin planar waveguides, to transmit image light from the pixel array to the observer.
It has long been rumored that Apple is developing a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses. There have been rumors that Apple's efforts are focused on ARKit, its platform for hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPad users. Apple sees AR as a core technology that will be part of many products in the future. Just as LCD and OLED are part of many products today. Apple's first AR glasses are likely to be released later this year.