Smart phones and virtual reality (VR) and even augmented reality (AR) are a match made it heaven. Whether it’s the easily implement ARKit from Apple or Samsung’s Gear VR in partnership with Oculus, or even Google Cardboard, VR and AR is a natural fit for the devices we carry with us every day. So why would Apple let the other smartphone manufacturers get ahead with VR and AR technology? They wouldn’t, and if we’re to believe this Apple patent will come to fruition in the future, they won’t.
Apple’s latest patent, as reported by iDrop News, is an optical system for VR and AR applications. Titled Optical System for Head-Mounted Display, the patent was published on February 8th, and indicates Apple’s continued investigation into AR and VR technologies.
We wonder if this is related to their acquisition last year of Vrvana, an AR and VR startup which Apple picked up for $30 million USD. Vrvana’s Totem headset may have played some part in inspiring the new patent.
The report highlights a few details about what this patent pertains to and how they may intend for it to be used;
- The patent describes an optical system for use inside a traditional head-mounted display (HMD). The patent mentions both AR and VR use cases, but highlight VR in particular.
- Long term used being uncomfortable is noted, and indicates that lighter lenses and HMD parts may alleviate the issue.
- The system is essentially designed to be more comfortable than other HMDs on the market, while offering a similar experience.
In the images attached to the patent we see what honestly looks to be a very standard VR HMD, though right now there’s no clear indication as to whether Apple are looking into releasing stand alone HMDs, ones compatible with Mac, or those designed with iPhone compatibility in mind.
It’s good to see Apple continue to dedicate resources to VR development. As one of the largest technology companies in the world with a massive install base of devices, their support could potentially be a massive launch pad for the entire industry. Whatever happens next, you’ll be sure to read about it first on VRFocus.