4 HMD patents issued last week covered optical systems including corrective lens system, iris authentication and more

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On October 17, Patently Apple released a report titled “HTC’s New Immersive VIVE FLOW VR Glasses Interestingly Showcase Some Key Features We’ve Covered in a Series of Apple Patent Reports” which you can check out here and here. Apple’s latest patent states: “A display module may include a catadioptric optical system (found at patent point # 0047).”

A snippet of the HTC video is shown below where you can see that the user will be able to move the dial above the lenses to adjust the vision of the left and right lenses according to the user’s visual needs without wearing glasses. of view. This gives us an idea of ​​how it will likely work for Apple’s HMD, which describes this capability later in one of their patents released Thursday.

On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released a series of patent applications for Apple’s future mixed reality headset, each representing different technologies.

In this particular report, we focus on the basics of Apple patent application 20210325678 entitled “Electronic devices with optical modules”.

Apple’s abstract of the patent states that “a head-mounted device can have left and right optical modules that present images to a user’s eyes. Each optical module may have an optical module support structure and a lens and screen coupled to the optical module support structure. the head mounted device may have a head mounted housing which supports the optical modules. “

In the summary of Apple’s patent, they add more specifically that “The head-mounted device may have removable vision correction lenses to help accommodate users who desire individualized vision correction. Sets of magnets in the left and right optical modules can be configured to attract the corresponding left and right vision correcting lenses. ”

Apple patent FIG. 1 below is a top view of a head mounted device with a corrective lens system. Apple also notes that it may be desirable to use a camera to capture images of the user’s irises (or other parts of the user’s eyes) for user authentication; FIG. 2 is a rear view of an example of a device mounted on the head

Apple’s patent FIG. 7 above is a rear view of an illustrative removable vision correction lens for an optical module.

Specifically, the Apple patent FIG. 7 presents a # 50 vision correction lens which can have a # 50F vision correction lens mount and a # 50L vision correction lens element which can have positive lens power or lens power negative and / or can be configured to correct astigmatism.

The # 50L lens element can be formed from molded polymer, glass, or other transparent lens material. Lens # 50 can be removably attached to the support structure (Figure 1, # 32) in alignment with Lens # 30 (Figures 1 and 2). For example, a support structure for optical module # 40 may have magnetic structures (eg, magnets and / or iron bars or other members formed from a magnetic material). Corresponding magnetic structures can be included in lens 50.

Beyond the specifics of the patent being a corrective lens system, Apple also provides a general overview of Apple hardware relating to the interaction with CGR environments beyond their HMD.

Equipment

Under “Hardware,” Apple notes, “There are many different types of electronic systems that allow a person to detect and / or interact with various CGR environments. Examples include head-mounted systems, projection-based systems, head-up displays (HUDs), vehicle windshields having built-in display capability, windows having built-in display capability, screens shaped like lenses designed to be placed on a person’s eyes (for example, similar to contact lenses), headsets / earphones, speaker sets, input systems (for example, portable or handheld controllers with or without haptic feedback), smartphones, tablets, and desktops / laptops.

Sensors

In another segment of their patent, Apple discusses different types of sensors being considered for a future HMD. Sensors in input-output devices can include force sensors (e.g. strain gauges, capacitive force sensors, resistive force sensors, etc.), audio sensors such as microphones, touch and / or proximity sensors such as capacitive sensors like a touch sensor that forms a button, trackpad, or other input device), and other sensors.

If desired, the sensors can include optical sensors such as optical sensors that emit and detect light, ultrasonic sensors, optical touch sensors, optical proximity sensors and / or other touch sensors and / or or proximity sensors, monochromatic and color ambient light sensors, sensors, Ffingerprint sensors, iris scanning sensors, retinal scanning sensors and other biometric sensors, temperature sensors, measurement sensors three-dimensional gestures without contact (“aerial gestures”), pressure sensors, sensors for detecting position, orientation and / or movement (e.g. accelerometers, magnetic sensors such as compass sensors, gyroscopes and / or inertial measurement units which contain all or part of these sensors). accelerometers can be used to monitor when a finger comes in contact with an input surface and therefore can be used to collect finger pressure input etc.

Health sensors +

In addition, a future HMD may also include health sensors such as blood oxygen sensors, heart rate sensors, blood flow sensors and / or other health sensors, radio frequency sensors, depth sensors (e.g. structured light sensors and / or depth sensors based on stereo imaging devices that capture three-dimensional images), optical sensors such as auto-mix sensors and detection and ranging sensors ( lidar) light that collect time-of-flight measurements, humidity sensors, humidity sensors, gaze tracking sensors, electromyography sensors to detect muscle activation, facial sensors and / or other sensors. “

Apple’s hardware and sensor overviews cover what could be included in the future Apple HMD across many generations of the device and which is not considered available on a single HMD from the start.

For more details, see Apple’s patent application here.

Inventors

Jérémy Franklin: Product design manager

Phil Hobson: senior product design engineer

Ivan Marić: Product design engineer

Forrest Wang: Product Design Engineer (arrived at Apple from Tesla, infotainment and autopilot team)

Wey Jiun Lin: Experienced Product Design Engineer (responsible for product design for 15 years, technology survey – currently on “career break”).

Three more HMD patents released Thursday

In addition to Apple’s patent application 20210325678 described above, the US Patent Office has also issued three additional patent applications relating to future HMDs, as follows:

Patent application No. 20210325625 entitled “Lens mounting structures for head mounted devices”. Patent Summary: “A head mounted device can have optical modules that present images to the user’s left and right eyes. The optical modules can move relative to each other to accommodate different interpupillary distances of the user. Each optical module can have a lens barrel, a display coupled to the lens barrel that generates an image, and a lens mounted to the lens barrel through which the image is visible from an eyepiece housing. The lens may be a multi-element lens formed from molded lens elements such as a polymeric element molded lens. A lens element may be provided with protrusions which form lens tabs. The lens legs can have coplanar lens leg surfaces that mate with corresponding coplanar mounting surfaces in the lens barrel. Alignment marks may be formed on the protrusions and / or other parts of the lens. “

Patent application # 20210325631 entitled “Electronic devices with cover structures”. Patent Summary: “Electronic devices such as head mounted electronic devices can include screens to present images to users. that move relative to each other. To hide internal structures from view, the back of a head mounted device may be provided with a cover. The cover can have an expandable layer which is coupled to a frame. The openings in the stretchable layer can be aligned with the optical modules. “

Patent application 20210325680 entitled “Electronic device mounted on the head”. Patent Abstract: “A head mounted device may have a head mounted housing.” The housing may include a frame with left and right openings that overlap with respective left and right optical modules that present image eyepieces. Each optical module can have a lens and screen that presents an image through the lens. The frame can have an inner frame and an outer frame. A middle portion of the frame may form a rigid nasal bridge structure. Components in the housing such as a display, fan housing, layer heat sink, optical module guide rods, and back cover can span the width of the housing and can be attached to edge portions of the housing. chassis, thus forming a box-like structure that provides rigidity and helps prevent deformation of the case.

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