There have been previously reported leaks that suggest that Apple has ambitions for augmented reality (AR) that go far beyond the recently released ARKit. A newly released patent goes further in suggesting that Apple is working on a set of AR smartglasses.
In June a report came from a Foxconn employee that suggested Apple were working on a set of AR glasses codenamed ‘Project Mirrorshades’. Other uncovered patents gave credence to this claim, including a January 2017 patent that covered ‘A wearable information system having at least one camera’.
The newly released patent, as reported by Patently Apple, refers to a device being able to overlay information on top of the real world. The parent mostly refers to the technology in relation to a smartphone, perhaps being used for navigation, or to highlight points of interest as a tourist destination. The patent describes a process for capturing images from the real world, and then contextual information would be overlaid on the screen.
The curious part is that apple specifically references use of the head-mounted display in conjunction with the patent. Though a head-mounted display cannot be operated in the same way as a touchscreen, the patent mentions a method of camera tracking that can detect the user’s finger relative to the image overlay and activate various functions based upon gesture control.
Most of the ideas laid out in the Patent application were very similar to those previously presented by Metaio, an AR-focussed startup that was bought out by Apple two years ago.
Of course, it remains to be seen if this patent design, or any of its other AR-related patents will come to fruition. VRFocus will keep you informed of any other developments.