Apple is constantly looking to improve Apple Glass or any future Apple AR devices. As of now, the company is preoccupied with how it can do away with tiny screens, and use micro projectors in its place so that the devices can beam the images onto the wearer’s retina. “Direct retinal projector” is something that very recently received a patent.
Virtual reality (VR) allows users to experience and/or interact with an immersive artificial environment, such that the user feels as if they were physically in that environment,” says the patent. “For example, virtual reality systems may display stereoscopic scenes to users in order to create an illusion of depth, and a computer may adjust the scene content in real-time to provide the illusion of the user moving within the scene.
For this, Apple first wants to establish the repeatedly occurring problems concerning how AR/VR systems work, and then go on to solve those problems: “When the user views images through a virtual reality system, the user may thus feel as if they are moving within the scenes from the first-person point of view. However, conventional virtual reality and augmented reality systems may suffer from accommodation-convergence mismatch problems that cause eyestrain, headaches, and/or nausea.”
“Accommodation-convergence mismatch arises when a VR or AR system effectively confuses the brain of a user,” says Apple, “by generating scene content that does not match the depth expected by the brain based on the stereo convergence of the two eyes of the user.”
The patent further continues, “For example, in a stereoscopic system, the images displayed to the user may trick the eye(s) into focusing at a far distance while an image is physically being displayed at a closer distance. In other words, the eyes may be attempting to focus on a different image plane or focal depth compared to the focal depth of the projected image, thereby leading to eyestrain and/or increasing mental stress.”
However, although the patent is trying to solve a few issues and usher in a new era of how we look at/use AR/VR devices, the fact remains that there is still a limit as to how long a user can comfortably wear an AR/VR headset, and the device’s size and weight come into question. The patent fails to cover how it will deal with the strength of projection or the brightness of the light source if it is to project images into the wearer’s eyes. To address some of these issues, Apple is once again looking into gaze tracking technology.