If there’s one company that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) fans are keen to see make some waves, it’s Apple. Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak was recently quoted in an interview praising VR technology and saying that it was “going to have a big future” but thus far it’s remained unclear whether or not Apple has any intentions to join the VR race. If a recent patent granted to the company is anything to go by, however, we could soon see the company developing augmented reality displays.
Described as a “transparent electronic device” the patent granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office details a device with one or more touch-sensitive display integrated into a device window that would “allow for overlaying of images over real world viewable objects.” That sounds like AR technology to us.
It can be slightly difficult to picture the applications possible with devices when they’re described in patents, but fortunately Apple has provided an example in theirs. The patent gives a museum exhibit as an example for how the device could be used, where a visitor might be able to point it at a painting and see information relating to the painting on the transparent screen. The patent goes on to say that these overlays could also be used information on things such as landmarks, historic sites, or other scenic locations.
Though our first thought would be that it would be iPhones and other handheld devices that would be outfitted with these displays, the patent goes on to describe applications beyond this suggesting that a sightseeing bus, for example, could use these displays as windows to give information to passengers.
Whether or not this patent will come to anything is unclear (many of them don’t) but it is exciting to see that Apple’s interest in AR in VR is more than just lip service to fans of the technology.
Keep reading VRFocus for updates on Apple and AR as we get them.