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Apple Conceptualising Development of AR Headset with Multiple Sensors

Details related to Apple’s augmented reality headset creation efforts were revealed in a recently filed patent. Apple is recognised today as a tech giant with an impressive line-up of products such as the iPhone, iPod and Apple Watch. But the company has not been a major inventor of groundbreaking and innovative technology products recently. 

Now, Apple is planning to venture into the targeting devices such as HoloLens by Microsoft and Oculus Rift from Facebook. According to a report released by CNET, a branch of ZDNet, Apple is supposedly working on a headset with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The headset can be launched as early as 2020.

A fresh US patent was filed recently by Apple for sensors to be put on a head-mounted display being developed by the company. The concepts being explored deal with sensors capable of capturing one’s head pose, gaze, hand gestures, and ambient light. They can also track facial expressions such as jaw, mouth and eyebrow movements. If the development does come to fruition, Apple’s foray into the immersive technology industry can be a roaring success.

Various other sensors are also being brought into play with this development, including a few “world-facing” ones that accumulate information based on the environment of users. The information collected includes data related to depth, which is used for image renders projected on the displays of wearers.

The concept created by Apple deals with representing the gestures, facial expressions and bodies of wearers within a three-dimensional view available through the viewer. Apple itself has stated that the information obtained will be used to render user avatars for the 3D view, at least partially based on the information accumulated through the user-facing sensors. This information will then be combined with that obtained through the outward-facing sensors.

Variety, which first took notice of the patent, expressed that Apple’s concept of real-world capture, and creating representations of it across a display, is considerably divergent from that of Magic Leap or Microsoft HoloLens.

Apple aims to capture real images and develop renders which are to be projected through a display.Apple is laying a strong focus on sensors that are ideal for the capture and rendering of facial expressions. This can mean that users might expect a headset capable of utilising the Memoji and Animoji avatars of Apple on the newest iPhones.

Information regarding what design can be adopted by Apple if it intends to create a headset is still unclear. Going by the details of the recently filed patent, the headset will be loaded with a variety of sensors. Few of the sensors to be used are already utilised for the FaceID camera setup for iPhone XS, XR, and X.

Illustrations released by Apple suggest that there will be two sensors for the lower jaw, one for each eyebrow, several downward-faced IR hand sensors, eye-tracking sensors, and video capture cameras. There might also be three world-facing sensors including a LIDAR for capturing depth information.

The headset might have an in-built controller or be controlled by a connected external device.

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