Apple is working on fingertip and face mapping tools for virtual reality and augmented reality

Two new Apple patents describe methods for improving the way a user can touch and interact with VR objects, as well as how headsets could be more easily adjusted to fit better.

Apple continues to study methods to improve Virtual and Augmented reality experiences for users. Two separate new patents both attempt to make the port of VR / AR technology less cumbersome and more useful.

“In virtual reality systems, force feedback gloves can be used to control virtual objects,” he says. “Cell phones can have touch screens and vibrators used to create haptic feedback in response to touch input. Such devices may be inconvenient for a user, may be bulky or uncomfortable, or may provide inadequate feedback. “

Instead of big, hard-to-wear gloves or haptic feedback displays that can only provide minimal feedback, Apple offers slim sensors that can be worn on the finger.

“A touch sensor can be mounted in a finger device housing to collect input from an external object as the object moves along an exterior surface of the housing,” he continues. “The external object may be, for example, the tip of a finger other than a finger received within the finger device.”

“Typing on a user’s finger can be used to manipulate virtual objects,” he says. For example, a virtual object corresponding to a mobile command may be moved by a user based on a finger input collected using a touch device or a displayed menu option may be selected. In some arrangements , a user can interact with real world objects while computer generated content is overlaid on some or all of the objects. “

An example of a sensor device on a finger

Part of the ability to locate and manipulate virtual objects relates to the ability to see them, and a separate Apple patent seeks to overcome one of the major hurdles in AR and VR. Bulky helmets can eventually be replaced by glasses, but for now they are mandatory. Their cost means they’re designed to fit as many people as possible, and their awkwardness means it’s hard to just adjust them for each user.

“It can be difficult to ensure that a head-mounted device fits satisfactorily on a user’s head.” said Apple in “Adjustable electronic device system with facial mapping.” “If you are not careful, a head mounted device will not fit properly and be uncomfortable to use.”

Apple proposes that such headsets use sensors similar to those of Facial identity to scan the user’s face.

“The headset or the external equipment that communicates with the headset may include a three-dimensional image sensor,” he explains. “The three-dimensional image sensor can capture a three-dimensional image of a user’s face.”

“The control circuits can analyze the three-dimensional image to determine which of multiple versions of a custom face adjustment module should be used in the head mounted device to optimize the fit of the head mounted device to the head. head of the user, “he continues. .

However, the helmet would not change or fit around a person’s face when they put it on. Instead, an initial scan would display information on separate external screens to help the user or support staff select the best “custom face fit module”.

“[The module] can be selected according to the facial characteristics of the user in the three-dimensional image of the user’s face, ”the patent states,“ such as the size of the face and the shapes of a user’s forehead, nose and cheeks “.

Detail showing a helmet with fixed elements and adjustable or replaceable elements for a better fit

Detail showing a helmet with fixed elements and adjustable or replaceable elements for a better fit

A helmet will have its main body which will remain the same but will include interchangeable elements which can be modified to best match this “face-fit” calculation.

“After identifying the version of the face adjustment module that is to be used by the user,” he continues, “this version of the face adjustment module can be paired with a non-personalized part of a main unit. for the head-mounted helmet. device using magnets or other coupling structures. “

He has also previously patented a system allowing an augmented reality user to wear a “iRing“on their fingers.

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