Apple patent suggests AR glasses controlled by user's blinks

Sci-Tech


Apple patent suggests augmented reality glasses may be controlled by following a user’s blinks and stares

  • A new patent filed by Apple suggest sign eye-tracking technology
  • It would use blinks and stares to control the device without using touch
  • The patent also suggests using a touch sensitive bar on the AR glasses 

Apple has been churning out patents for its mysterious pair of augmented reality glasses. 

In its latest application, Apple describes a technology that would allow Apple Glass users to control the device with their gaze.

While gaze tracking has been described in previous patents, the recent application from Apple offers a different approach to using the technology.

Apple’s AR ambitions have been detailed in an extensive report by Bloomberg which suggests the existence of two separate AR/VR devices including a more powerful headset in addition to more lightweight AR glasses 

As noted by 9to5Mac, the application describes using eye-tracking technology to operate the device using different ‘gestures’ like blinks, stares, and other eye movements.  

‘According to some embodiments, a user uses his or her eyes to interact with user interface objects displayed on the electronic device,’ the patent reads.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AR AND VR?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of an environment or situation

  • It immerses the user by making them feel like they are in the simulated reality through images and sounds
  • For example, in VR, you could feel like you’re climbing a mountain while you’re at home

In contrast, augmented reality layers computer-generated images on top of an existing reality

  • AR is developed into apps to bring digital components into the real world
  • For example, in the Pokemon Go app, the characters seem to appear in real world scenarios

‘The techniques provide a more natural and efficient interface by, in some exemplary embodiments, allowing a user to operate the device using primarily eye gazes and eye gestures (e.g., eye movement, blinks, and stares).’  

According to Apple, the glasses may also have a touch sensitive surface that users could swipe and tap to control certain aspects.

The patent isn’t exclusively for AR products according to Apple, and can be integrated to any device with a camera.

‘The techniques can be applied to conventional user interfaces on devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The techniques are also advantageous for computer-generated reality (including virtual reality and mixed reality) devices and applications, as described in greater detail below,’ the patent states.  

Apple is reportedly developing two distinct augmented reality and virtual reality devices that are still years away from being released.

The devices, according to a Bloomberg report, are codenamed N421, which is said to be a lightweight pair of augmented reality glasses that can overlay text and images on a screen, and N301, which is a bulkier and more powerful headset that blends augmented reality and virtual reality.

The N301 could be released in 2021 while the N421 is expected to come out in 2023 at the earliest.  

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