Apple is working on new finger-mounted control device for its AR and VR headset – Patent

According to a recent patent filing, Apple is researching a finger-mounted device with a collection of sensors and haptic feedback that can be used as a control device for the company’s AR and VR headsets.

In 2019 Apple filed a patent that shows that the tech giant is working on the technology for a future headset that could make use of “slip-on finger sensor devices” that would offer accurate hand feedback, allowing users to work with content seen on the front via headset using air gestures and more.

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Apple’s plan for a finger-mounted device for AR and VR headsets

The patent application was filed on February 25 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office titled “Finger-Mounted Device with Sensors and Haptics.” The patent shows that a finger-mounted device can be utilized for “head-mounted display systems” that are used for AR and VR content and wirelessly command computers.

The device contains two small sidewalls to grip a finger via springs or magnets, and it can support a range of various finger sizes. It may be “formed from a deformable material such as metal.” The patent also shows that materials like polymer or fabric might also be compatible.

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Apple explained in the patent that the company acknowledges that a few implementations of a wearable control device might resemble a glove with sensors to detect hand motions but also says that there are advantages to this configuration like preserving the capability to feel objects in the user’s surroundings and provide comfort.

To allow the user to feel real-world objects accurately, the finger-mounted device may have a U-shaped cross-sectional profile or other shape that allows underside portions of the user’s fingertips to be exposed to the environment.

the Cupertino tech giant explains in the patent that the given configuration will allow the user to “touch surfaces with the user’s own skin, thereby enhancing the user’s sensitivity to the environment in which device is being used.”

For example, the control circuitry may supply haptic output to a user’s fingers based on wirelessly received information from the external device. The haptic output may correspond to virtual reality or augmented reality haptic output

Haptic output may be provided to the user to confirm to the user that a light tap input has been recognized or to otherwise provide feedback to the user. The haptic feedback may provide the user with a sensation of tapping on a physical keyboard or other input device with a movable button member even when the user is tapping on a hard flat surface such as a tabletop. The haptic output provided with the wearable electronic device to the user may be virtual reality haptic output or augmented reality haptic output that is provided while a user is wearing a head-mounted display or other device that creates a virtual reality or augmented reality environment for a user.

 

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The original patent from Apple regarding the AR and VR headsets included 33 patent claims. The recent patent adds 20 new claims to protect key features, Given that this is a continuation patent, the timing for the release of the product is still not clear. The patent number is 20210055799.

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About the Author

Usman has been playing games for as long as he can remember. He is an editor at iThinkDifferent and writes about games, Apple news, hardware, productivity guides, and more. When not writing for iTD, Usman loves to play competitive Team Fortress 2, spends time honing his football skills, and watches superhero movies.

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