Its no longer a secret that Apple is working on its own AR/VR headset. The device has been confirmed multiple times through code snippets in iOS 13 internal builds and it should make its debut to the public next year. While it is clear that Apple is working on its AR/VR headset, there’s no clarity on how it will exactly work. A recently discovered patent application from Apple could just give us a hint at this though.
As discovered by Apple Insider, the patent application from Apple which was first filed in 2016 points to turning any surface as a touch control point for Apple Glass users. The Apple Glass wearer will see the touch controls on the surface in front of them thanks to its high-resolution display, but getting the headset to recognize the touch control points being used is a difficult task. The patent describes Apple using IR sensors and radiation to figure this out. The company will rely on the difference in temperatures between the first and second objects to achieve this.
Advantageously, with the present invention it can be accurately determined if a surface of a real object was actually touched or only occluded (or approached but not touched). It can distinguish touches or occlusions caused by a human body (that happened on purpose) from touches or occlusions by anything else (that might happen by accident). It is capable of precisely localizing a touch and can identify touch events after they occurred (i.e. even if no camera, computer or whatsoever was present at the time of touch).
The patent might make it sound simple, but pulling this off, in reality, is going to be much harder. It is possible that Apple can make use of LiDAR sensors on its AR/VR headset to achieve this. If Apple’s first AR/VR headset indeed ends up turning any surface into a virtual touch interface, it could lead to it offering a really immersive experience.
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What are your expectations from Apple’s first AR/VR headset? Do you think the headset will offer the ability to turn any surface into touch control points? Drop a comment and let us know!