The US Patent & Trademark Office has granted a new patent to Apple for a smart ring project using a new self-mixing interferometry (SMI) sensor-based gesture input system. The new device, either working in pairs, with an Apple Pencil or standalone, for AR, VR, and MR applications.
Apple is very secretive about new projects and products, but several reports and published patents reveal that the company is working on developing new Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) headsets. Previously, a patent filing detailed that Apple’s AR and VR headset will have the same design as the ones currently available in the market headset with a light seal on the upper and lower ends to block light, and reduced tension and compression in the lower portion to allow easy facial movements. Another patent showed that the company is working on a new finger-mounted control device for its AR and VR headsets.
New ‘smart ring’ for Apple’s AR, VR, and MR apps
As the filing, multiple SMI sensors in the ring will help in detecting movement compatible with AR, VR, and MR devices.
An SMI sensor can be used to optically measure the relative motion (displacement) between the SMI sensor and a target (e.g., a surface or object), with sub-wavelength resolution.
In augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) applications, as well as other applications, it can be useful to track a user’s finger movement(s) and/or identify a user’s gestures (e.g., gestures made with one or more fingers, a hand, an arm, etc.).
With three or more SMI sensors, movements in x, y, and z directions may be tracked. Motion tracking with six degrees of freedom may also be tracked with three or more SMI sensors.
via Patently Apple