The Oculus Rift has quickly grabbed the hearts of gamers with it’s amazing 3D tech, but it looks like Apple has been thinking along similar lines as the company has dreamed up a variant of a wearable 3D display that would be perfect for gaming.
Apple was awarded a knockout patent today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a head mounted display that would allow users to view media and play games on a bigger screen than their mobile device’s built-in display. The Apple goggles are much more sophisticated than just a display strapped to your face, as each screen can be lined up with your eye and adjusted for corrected vision if you wear glasses.
The patent was filed back in May of 2008 but the company has submitted a number of other video display patents as well since 2006, suggesting Apple has long considered the merits of launching a mobile display device.
Here’s Apple’s overall description of the goggles from the patent’s abstract:
A goggle system for providing a personal media viewing experience to a user is provided. The goggle system may include an outer cover, a mid-frame, optical components for generating the media display, and a lens on which the generated media displayed is provided to the user. The goggle system, or head mounted display may have any suitable appearance. For example, the goggle system may resemble ski or motorcycle goggles. To enhance the user’s comfort, the goggle system may include breathable components, including for example breathable foam that rests against the user’s face, and may allow the user to move the display generation components for alignment with the user’s eyes. In some embodiments, the goggle system may include data processing circuitry operative to adjust left and right images generated by the optical components to display 3-D media, or account for a user’s eyesight limitations.
The patent shows the goggles hooking up to an iPod via a cable as well as the option to connect to it wirelessly. The patent also indicates that the goggle system would be able to identify users by tracking eyeballs, voice, and fingerprints.
Apple has clearly been fascinated with wearable displays for quite a few years now and has considered a lot of different ideas, but like most patents we see, just because Apple has been awarded it doesn’t mean they’re actually going to launch it as a product. However, with so much hype surrounding Google Glass and Oculus Rift it will be interesting to see how Apple enters the wearable displays market if they ever do.