Apple has been granted a new patent today that serves to be interesting given the recent Google Project Glass announcement. The patent comes with the title of Peripheral treatment for head mounted displays. It seems to be based on techniques that would project an image onto the user’s eye through a viewable display. This is thought to be in the same way that the Google Glass project works.
Apple patent reminiscent of Google Project Glass
The image would be projected onto the eye of the user by one or two LCDs. Typically a display such as this would not project the image onto the vision of the user, peripherally, but instead have the appearance of it floating in space. The patent is thought to be a spin off from that behavior, which outlines the workings of the system that fills the peripheral vision along with the user’s direct vision.
If so this would mean that the system would have been designed for full immersion and not a walk around device such as Project Glass. It does however share some of the same properties. The head mounted display could be a natural move into personalized computer displays. There is also mention of two images that would be projected stereoscopically into each eye and this would provide an immersive feeling which could alleviate the motion sickness that is often seen with HMD and an increase to brightness, along with producing a larger field of view.
Bear in mind that late last year there was a story in the New York Times which suggested that Apple were working on computers that would be worn. Apple did hire an engineer working in wearable computers in 2010 and they did apply for patents relating to wearable computing as long back as 2008.
This latest patent might not mean that Apple are going to be producing something akin to iGlasses, but it does suggest that they have some smart people working for them that are considering ways to make wearing a computer immersive and accessible.