Apple's Work on Video Goggles Highlighted in Newly Granted Patent
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a newly granted Apple patent describing a goggle-like video headset designed to allow users to view media while on the go but with a much larger view than on their mobile device's built-in display (via Patently Apple).
Apple's patent is a relatively straightforward one with a single independent claim outlining a headset that contains adjustable optical modules for lining up with the user's eyes, but the full description of Apple's ideas includes such topics as allowing displays for each eye to be individually focused to provide vision correction, as well as possibilities for 3-D viewing similar to Oculus Rift's virtual reality headset.
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.
Apple goes on to describe how visual corrections could be made either by the user entering a prescription or by the headset automatically detecting the needed correction. Those corrections could then be stored by the headset and automatically applied when the user wearing the headset is identified.
Apple's patent was originally filed in May 2008 and is based on a provisional patent application filed in May 2007, but it has taken until now for the application to make its way through the review process to approval. This is also not the first time Apple has moved to patent concepts related to video headsets, with the company receiving a 2008 patent for a system in which laser light could be pumped from an external source into a lightweight goggle system to display images. As noted by Patently Apple, Apple has made a number of other moves over the years to expand on the possibilities for a video headset, but the company has yet to bring any such product to market.