Before We Get Started
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Apple seems to be developing a mixed reality headset that might include sensors to track owners’ eyes, facial features and hands. It has now become known that the company filed a patent for such a product in March this year. The official description is “Display System Having Sensors.” This is a clear indication that Apple is exploring how augmented or mixed reality could translate from smartphones to glasses.
The patent describes a group of cameras, a head-mounted screen and other sensors to record the environment around the user. The patent further mentions that such a headset might include “eyebrow sensors”, “head pose sensors”, and “lower jaw sensors.”
Apple’s implementation of AR seems to differ from how most other AR glasses approach the issue. According to Variety, at least one of Apple’s variants involves pass-through video, with cameras capturing a video feed. The headset then overlays digital objects onto that before the resulting images are displayed on a virtual reality-like screen.
Apple hasn’t commented about this particular patent yet, but CEO Tim Cook clearly likes the idea. Last year, he described AR as “profound” and added: “AR has the ability to amplify human performance instead of isolating humans. So I am a huge, huge believer in AR. We put a lot of energy on AR. We’re moving very fast.”
In May 2019, he also talked about the many benefits that AR would have for the manufacturing and retail sectors.
Apple specifically developed ARKit to assist developers with building AR apps, and since the release of iOS 11, the majority of newer iPhones offer support for AR being built into the operating system.
Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects that the company will begin producing an AR headset by Q4 2019 and release it next year.