The US Patent Office haspublished details of an Apple-requested patent, titled Peripheral Treatment for Head-Mounted Displays. The details sound similar to Google's Project Glass - a device that transfers the functionality of a smartphone into a pair of spectacles.
In earlier IBTimes UK reports, we'd explained that Project Glass was akin to augmented reality glasses that would look to overlay the Internet on the world around you. The glasses, which are not really glasses at all, will rest on your head and provide you with a type of heads-up display to be controlled with your eyes. Meanwhile, a second IBTimes UK report provided us with a little more information, suggesting the gadget would probably run the Android operating system and feature 3G or 4G connectivity, motion sensors and a Global Positioning System (GPS).
The patent filed by Apple, according to text published by Free Patents Online, includes methods and equipment that implements techniques to project a source image in a Head-Mounted Display (HMD) device for the user. The HMD will consist of a set of two displays, one for each eye. The patent description includes mention of at least one small Cathode Ray Tube (CRT), Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) or Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED), consisting of "magnifying lenses" and other optical components. The displays and optics will be enclosed in a helmet or a pair of glasses.
"In HMDs that use a single display, the image is typically projected through optics that split the image into two identical images, and redirects each image to the respective eye. With two displays, the HMD can show stereoscopic images. The stereoscopic images attempt to create depth to the images by simulating the angular difference between the images viewed by each eye when looking at an object, due to the different positions of the eyes," Apple explained in the patent.
Some HMDs could be used to experience augmented reality - this is accomplished by reflecting images using partially reflective mirrors. In the patent, the tech giant provides benefits of HMD use. This includes applications in surgery where CAT (CT) scans or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) imaging could be merged with the doctor's vision. In the field of defence, the military, the police and fire-fighters could use the HMDs in order to show information with regard to strategies. In the field of technology, engineers and scientists could use HMDs to show stereoscopic views of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) schematics.
"It is unlikely that Apple will be using the peripheral treatment patent anytime soon it at all but the filing serves as an interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Cupertino-based company's research and development efforts," explained Apple Insider.