Earlier this month, Patently Apple published a few Apple-issued patents for possible future mixed reality accessories in the form of rings and standalone finger-mounted devices and/or a glove with some numbers. of patents drawn from the reports presented below.
(Click on image to enlarge)
At this point, it’s obvious that Zuckerberg’s Meta will be one of Apple’s main competitors for the future of high-end headsets with revolutionary display technology for a wide range of gaming applications. , education, business, social media and beyond.
Much like with recent patents granted by Apple for smart rings and finger-mounted devices as stand-alone devices or in the form of a glove, Facebook has also been granted a pair of patents relating to MR Headset accessories in various forms in August so far.
In The first patent granted to Facebook we are first introduced to a series of AR-related devices and accessories beginning with the FIG patent. 1 below illustrating a rather futuristic AR headband.
Facebook patent FIG. 1 shown below shows system #100 which may include a frame (#102) and a camera assembly (#104) which is coupled to the frame and configured to gather information about a local environment by observing the local environment.
The AR system may also include one or more audio devices, such as output audio transducers (#108(A) and #108(B)) and input audio transducers (#110). Output audio transducers may provide audio feedback and/or content to a user, and input audio transducers may capture sound in a user’s environment.
As illustrated, the augmented reality system may not necessarily include a near eye device (NED) positioned in front of a user’s eyes. Augmented reality systems without NED can take various forms, such as headbands, hats, hair bands, belts, watches, bracelets, anklets, rings, chokers, necklaces, chest bands, eyeglass frames and/or any other suitable type or form of device.
While the augmented reality system may not include NED, the AR system may include other types of screens or visual feedback devices (e.g. a display screen built into the side of frame #102) .
Facebook patent FIG. 4 above shows accessories including glove and wristband devices. FIG. 4 illustrates a vibrotactile system #400 in the form of a wearable glove (haptic device #410) and wristband (haptic device #420). Haptic examples of wearable devices that include a flexible, wearable textile material (#430) that is shaped and configured to fit against a user’s hand and wrist, respectively.
The patent of Facebook FIGS. 10A and 10D are examples of pinch-type gestures for smart gloves that the controller will translate into various actions or access certain features.
Facebook patent FIG. 5 below illustrates an Oculus-style device working with the new accessories (glove and wristband); In patent FIG. 6, we’re able to see that Facebook’s future AR glasses could come with a smartband or watch accessory that will help translate hand and/or finger pinch gesture commands from a user.
Not limited to glove and wristband accessories, Facebook’s patent reveals that their overall artificial reality system can include other types of devices such as a suit, wearable controllers, environmental devices (e.g., chairs, floor mats, etc.), and/or any other type of device or system.
For more details on this, see Facebook’s first issued patent 11,416,075.
Suspend mode functionality for mixed reality systems
In the second patent granted to Facebook they describe a suspended mode function for artificial reality systems that generates a suspended mode environment during execution of an artificial reality application that presents and controls user interface (UI) elements in the mode environment suspended.
The suspend mode function allows a user interacting with one or more other users (or one or more avatars corresponding to one or more other users) in an artificial reality (AR) environment to suspend the AR environment from the point of view of the user.
In the suspended mode environment, the user can view and select other users in the AR environment. For example, the user can select another user as a friend, send a message, mute, block, or report that user from the suspended mode environment.
In one or more exemplary aspects, an artificial reality system includes a head-mounted display (HMD) configured to provide artificial reality content to a user of the HMD, the artificial reality content including one or more avatars corresponding to one or more other users. participate in an artificial reality environment; and a suspended mode engine configured to, in response to user input, activate a suspended mode environment for the user of the HMD, wherein the at least one suspended mode engine overrides the artificial reality by the suspended mode environment at the HMD, mutes the avatar(s) and the artificial reality environment at the HMD, or renders the avatar(s) in static positions inside the environment in suspended mode.
The first two patent figures below (2A and 2B) depict styles of mixed reality glasses in the form of an HMD and Smartglasses; FIG. 1A is an illustration depicting an example of an artificial reality system having a suspended mode function. In some instances, suspended mode functionality may be referred to as safe mode or safe zone functionality. Artificial Reality (AR) System #10 includes Head Mounted Helmet (HMD), Console #106 (FIG. 3), Artificial Reality Application Server #107 (FIG. 3), and , in some examples, one or more external #90 sensors.
Facebook patent FIG. 3 above is a block diagram showing example implementations of a console, an artificial reality application server and an HMD of the artificial reality system which generates a suspended mode environment during execution of an artificial reality application.
For more details, see Facebook issued patent 11,416,067. Going forward, Patently Apple / Patently Mobile will cover more Facebook patents on Metaverse glasses and accessories in the future.
Right now, Patently Apple has released over 360 patent reports related to future features of Apple’s headsets without much insight into their overall mission, which is to be expected.
Of course, Apple’s entry into the world of mixed reality is going to be a massive undertaking. It’s also likely to start a war with Meta right off the bat.
Yet, with any new product category, it may take some time for consumers/Apple fans to take action. The first hurdle is likely the cost of these advanced headsets, which CNBC published yesterday in a detailed report titled “Apple and Meta headsets could face a big challenge: sticker shock.”
Yet beyond the endless evolutionary upgrades of the iPhone, we’ll finally have an exciting new product category to explore, from hardware and new user interfaces to new apps and accessories. I can’t wait for the journey and the category war to begin. And you?