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Apple Wins Patent For Head-Mounted Display Tech 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-want-my-iglasses dept.
redletterdave writes "It appears that Google is no longer alone in exploring the realm of wearable tech solutions. Apple was granted a patent on Thursday in relation to 'peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays.' While Google Glass places a piece of smartglass right above the user's eye, Apple's solution uses two peripheral lights to show two different images to each eye 'to create an enhanced viewing experience for the user.' Apple's patent also attempts to address the biggest problems with head-mounted displays (HMDs), particularly tunnel vision and motion sickness."
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Apple Wins Patent For Head-Mounted Display Tech

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  • by icebike (68054) * on Thursday July 05, 2012 @06:59PM (#40558767)

    Its a good thing the Military has been using this technology since the 70's [wikipedia.org] or Apple would be trying to ban the importation of any device using anything that even resembled their solution based on nothing more than the same of the corners.

    It looks to me like they stole technology from the F35 helmet system.

    • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:06PM (#40558809)
      You dont understand! Apple is using TWO displays, unlike the one used by the military in helicopters. TWO! Clearly patent worthy.
      • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

        Apple is using TWO displays

        Huh?! TWO displays??

        Shining two beams of lights does not make "TWO displays"
         

        • by ThePeices (635180) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:33PM (#40558993)

          Apple is using TWO displays

          Huh?! TWO displays??

          Shining two beams of lights does not make "TWO displays"

          And?

          Since when has logic, common sense and reasoning been a mitigating factor in the granting of patents?

          The patent system is just another abusive business tool used to stifle competition.

        • by oztiks (921504)

          What a waste of a patient. The HMD technology displayed in there seems fairly rudimentary. No mention of 3D tech which would of been my first thought of holding any real use to the experience of HMD (if someone can find it good for them let me know).

          It takes care of motion but so did Google Glasses and it was published publicly first, so that takes care of that about who did what first.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-mounted_display [wikipedia.org] takes care of the existence of HMD's before. NB to fanboys pay close atte

          • by oztiks (921504)

            yes i see the typo .....

          • by iamwahoo2 (594922)

            The patent is for a way of "lighting" the fringe of the phyxical glass display and giving it a colored hue. Typically an HMD does not present a display that covers the full field of view of the physical glass that it is projected onto, so the image is projected in the center of the field of view and the periphery contains no image. The patent claims that this is uncomfortable and distracting to the user so they are patent the idea of providing a colored hue to the periphery of the physical surface so that i

          • "It takes care of motion but so did Google Glasses and it was published publicly first, so that takes care of that about who did what first."
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo

        • by Coisiche (2000870)
          There are *FOUR* lights.
        • Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Displays

          Sure, we could go to four displays next, like the competition. That seems like the logical thing to do. After all, three worked out pretty well, and four is the next number after three. So let's play it safe. Let's make a brighter backlight and call it the Mach3SuperTurbo HUD. Why innovate when we can follow? Oh, I know why: Because we're a business, that's why!

          --James M. Kilts CEO and President, The Gillette Company
      • by iamwahoo2 (594922)

        I know that you are joking, but the military has been using dual eye displays for quite some time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Reread TFA. Then, if necessary, take a look at the patent. Then read the article you linked to. Reflect on the fact that, while the two systems try to achieve the same goal, they obviously do so in very different ways.

      In fact, don't even bother with all that. Just reread the summary, and look at the photo in the wikipedia page you sent. That should be enough to make it clear, to anyone who is paying even a little bit of attention, that the military's tech does not use "two peripheral lights to show two diff

      • by icebike (68054) *

        Sigh. Another AC that can't read past the first paragraph.

        Scroll All The Way down and read about the F35 helmet system and notice two projection heads.

        Two. Count them. They project on the back side of the full face mask.

        Its s full HUD in a Helmet, because the plane doesn't have a
        UD.

        Go fan boy somewhere else.

      • by Dr Max (1696200)
        The military has been using side projection techniques for quite a while and if that's not enough for you lumus http://www.lumusvision.com/ [lumusvision.com] has actually built a product (about 5 years ago) and not just sat around shouting "we are so smart we could do this if we tried so give us a patent"; and world augmented reality has been commercialised by Google for a long time. I honestly don't understand what brain dead iFanatics they have working at the patent office, and how hypocritical apple can be when they steal
    • It looks to me like they stole technology from the F35 helmet system.

      Unless Apple has a real time machine in the Reality Distortion Field, this is unlikely.

      Filed: October 13, 2006

      The F35 helmets are not fully functional yet and BAE has been contracted to fix them as VSI's original design is inadequate.. VSI didn't have a working model until 2010 [vsi-hmcs.com].

      • by icebike (68054) *

        What does it matter if its fully functional or not? Since when is having all the bugs out a criteria for getting a patent?

        The F35 helmet was designed, prototyped, contracted for, built, and put into production BEFORE the F35 was even built because they knew all along the F35 was not going to incorporate a cockpit HUD.

        Big heavy clunky mock-ups were used on the F35 simulator years before the first plane rolled off the assembly line. (You don't seriously think the Airforce would go to production without a bui

        • A patent takes a while to file. Filing on Oct 13, 2006 means that they worked on the design prior to that date. Apple is known for their secrecy so we don't know how long they worked on it. It could have been years. The first flight of the F35 (without the helmet) was Dec 2006. Details on how the helmet worked would not likely have been available the public as it was still classified.

          Even if Apple came up with exactly with the same design (which I doubt reading the patent), it's highly unlikely that the

          • by icebike (68054) *

            Prior art is prior art.
            It doesn't require a fully functional device.

            Mockups were functional to some degree, simply not capable of being fitted into the airplane. Prior Art.

            You seem to have skipped over this line:
            "You don't seriously think the Airforce would go to production without a built in HUD betting that one would come along eventually do you?"

            Further, the airforce got this idea from somewhere. It was out there in a proposal or design document. Prior Art.

            You simply can not hand waive away the fact t

            • Prior art is prior art.

              From the patent: References cited:
              6064353
              6185045
              6657302
              7938546
              2004/0036700
              2005/0255912
              2006/0081793
              2006/0120247
              20070046776
              2009/0175536

              The display(s) and optics are typically embedded in a helmet, glasses . . . Military, police, and firefighters use HMDs to display relevant tactical information, such as maps or thermal imaging data.

              Please tell me which one Apple missed.

              "You don't seriously think the Airforce would go to production without a built in HUD betting that one would come along eventually do you?"

              You skipped over these facts: Filing date: Oct 13, 2006. First flight: Dec 2006. Details of any helmet would not be public. How can Apple "steal" something that wasn't public unless they had spies at VSI ?

              Also I provided to you a link which says that VSI didn't get a helmet semi-working until 2010. This means VSI's design

    • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @09:03PM (#40559445)

      I'm sorry, but you obviously have no idea what is being claimed here. Here is what the patent summary says:

      The present invention provides methods and apparatus for treating the peripheral area of a user's field of view in a head mounted display, and thereby creating improved comfort and usability for head mounted displays. The peripheral area adjacent to the displayed image is treated, such that the peripheral area is coordinated with the image on the display. The coordination can be in the form of color projections, achieved, for example, by light emitting diodes (LEDs) or other displays, such that the colors surrounding the display dynamically matches what is shown on the display. As a result, the peripheral area “converges” with the display area, which reduces the “tunnel effect” or “box effect” experienced by the user. Various embodiments of the invention allow users to customize different viewing parameters of the head mounted displays to accommodate for variation in the individual users' eyes.

      If you would actually read the patent [freepatentsonline.com] you'd notice that Apple is well aware of other head mounted display technologies (they list them in the patent). As the title says, this is a "Peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays" to prevent motion sickness and increase the length of time such a device can be used.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        If you would understand a thing or two about patents you would know that words describing the purpose are not actual claims nor do they even have to be proven. Everything in the actual claims had already been done by the military.

        • by mosb1000 (710161)

          The first claim is:

          1. A head-mounted display apparatus for a user, comprising: a first display operable to project a first image viewable only by a first eye of the user; a first peripheral light element positioned to emit light of one or more colors in close proximity to the periphery of the first display; a second display operable to project a second image viewable only by a second eye of the user independent of the first image viewed by the first eye of the user; a second peripheral light element positio

    • by westlake (615356)

      Its a good thing the Military has been using this technology since the 70's

      The patent is for the implementation not the idea.

      It looks to me like they stole technology from the F35 helmet system.

      The F35 helmet (1) is not yet combat ready and (2) is not mass market consumer tech.

      The problems with the current Vision Systems International helmet-mounted display led Lockheed Martin to issue a draft specification for proposals for an alternative on 1 March 2011. The alternative system will be based on Anvis-9 night vision goggles.It will be supplied by BAE systems. The BAE system does not yet include all the features of the VSI helmet and if successful will have the remaining features incorporated. Use of the BAE system would also require a cockpit redesign.

      In 2011, Lockheed granted VSI a contract to fix the vibration, jitter, night-vision and sensor display problems in their helmet-mounted display. The improved displays are expected to be delivered in third quarter of 2013.

      F-35 Helmet-mounted display system [wikipedia.org]

      • The patent is for the implementation not the idea.

        They're all supposed to be.

        Does that mean Samsung are OK if they create their rounded corners by making square ones & then filing them down?

        is not mass market consumer tech.

        Since when have patents been market-sector specific?

        • Does that mean Samsung are OK if they create their rounded corners by making square ones & then filing them down?

          There is a difference between a functional patent and a design one. Also the round corners was one of many points in Apple's suit. People can disagree whether Apple's design is unique enough for protection but distilling their entire case to one aspect misses the point.

          Since when have patents been market-sector specific?

          Patents can be use specific. That's been part of the problem of the system in the computer age where an older patent can be filed as a new function to be used on a computer and the new patent is valid.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        Not yet combat ready doesn't matter a bit. Why are you throwing that out there?
        That it needs fixes and refinement means nothing.

        It designed and built, that that is Prior Art.

    • There is obviously a model whereby you can get a patent for anything. For the patent office to make a thorough and accurate examination of every patent application is ludicrous. They let you have pretty much any trivial patent and push the problem on to the courts. The Seventh US District Court just bitch-slapped Apple and Google over trivial patents that they already held and were using for litigation claims. The judge, a well respected legal scholar who's opinion carries a lot of weight in the legal fi

  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:02PM (#40558793)

    They haven't been alone for some time now - that is to say, since before they even mentioned what they may or may not have been working on.

    Google's glasses aren't HMDs, though.

    The Rift would be an HMD that'd warrant a further look;
    http://www.mtbs3d.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=138&t=14777 [mtbs3d.com]

    As for Apple's patent - it's pretty much 'ambilight for HMDs'. There's a wee bit more to it, of course, but if painting with the same broad brush that Apple uses when asserting their patents, the aforementioned description fits the bill.

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      the tech side sounds a lot like what lumus http://www.lumusvision.com/ [lumusvision.com] have been doing for 5 years and the software is just google goggles.
    • Google's glasses are
      Head-mounted. Check.
      Displays. Check.

      Ergo they are HMDs. (Or more accurately they incorporate a HMD, they also incorporate a considerable number of other unrelated technologies) The field is quite broad and covers a wide range of technologies and applications from VR helmets to augmented reality systems that project a laser-generated image directly onto your retina so that it's always in focus regardless of your current focal distance.

      • CRTs are TVs. Check.
        LCD TVs are TVs. Check.
        Plasma TVs are TVs. Check.

        In effect all three technologies are used to display video. Functionally they work differently. The patents on newer technologies must refer to prior patents but that doesn't mean you can't patent a different way to do the same thing.

  • By the time any decent HMD's appear and are commoditized, or inexpensive enough for the casual consumer, truely powerful head mounted computers will be possible. Why bother designing a good HMD when you can skip this step and create the first computer built-in to a HMD that looks like nothing more than a pair of Wayfarers?
    • A HMD with other tech incorporated is still a HMD, it's just not a stand-alone system. Just like an iMac is still a computer. And a monitor. You're right though, Google glasses will likely be the first consumer HMD to see any sort of success, and they're exactly that. And the computer part will only continue to get faster and cheaper while the displays evolve - why buy a standalone HMD when another $20 will get you the computer as well. You still want a well-designed HMD though, just like you want a w

      • Sure, *eventually* your glasses will be able to hold a computer more powerful than you could possibly use, but that's probably decades away yet

        Decades away? No, a few years at most. It doesn't need to be more powerful than you can possibly use... it only needs to be as powerful as desktops were in 2002, or smartphones are today (see what I did there?)

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Sure, set the bar arbitrarily low and WOW the functionality is just around the corner! 2002 seems an arbitrary limit, why not 1996? Every smartphone on the planet is far more powerful than any desktop of that era, and frankly there's very few smartphone apps that exceed the functionality or graphic capabilities of the time. We just keep finding more uses for additional power (allowing for sloppier, less efficient coding and languages being a big one)

          I don't know about you, but if I had a high-resolution

          • Sure, set the bar arbitrarily low and WOW the functionality is just around the corner! 2002 seems an arbitrary limit, why not 1996? Every smartphone on the planet is far more powerful than any desktop of that era, and frankly there's very few smartphone apps that exceed the functionality or graphic capabilities of the time. We just keep finding more uses for additional power (allowing for sloppier, less efficient coding and languages being a big one)

            I strongly disagree with your assessment. It is not arbitrary, but 2002 was right about when desktops stopped being annoying. Prior to 2000, with the computers in the 90's, if you wanted to stay busy working on machines all day, you needed more than one, so you could switch to another while waiting on the first (at a job as a prepress operator at a commercial printer in the early-mid 90's, I rememeber several occasions during an evening shift where I had 8 of the most powerful desktop computers of the day w

  • I hope they actually build it. It would be the most amazing ever.

  • Apple's patent here is for a stereoscopic direct view head mount display, in other words having nothing to do with the current prototype implementation of Project Glass, which is a prism-based overlay display for a single eye. Followers on G+ also noted that the Nintendo VirtualBoy is suspiciously prior-artish.
  • by cvtan (752695) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:48PM (#40559083)
    It only works on people with heads that have rounded corners.
  • So how different is this from a retinal display [wikipedia.org] system? (Too lazy to read the patent application itself, which I suspect will be filled with vague descriptions and drawings that give the barest hint as to what it's all about.)
    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      i'm thinking retinal display is when it's projected directly onto your retina. I think apples approach will use lumus technology http://www.lumusvision.com/ [lumusvision.com] have a read they tell you all about, they have been doing it for quite a while.
  • Maybe if Apple's ludicrous patent streak will be ludicrous enough and go on for long enough it will cause lawmakers to question the current state of the patent system?

  • The patent is basically this: If we provide color to the edges of the display surface outside of the main video area, users will find it appealing. No direction is provided on how to do this in the many variety of HMD types which can be a far more challengine engineering problem.

    • by vivian (156520)

      If there is no actual design of how to do it, isn't this just an idea, which shouldn't be patent-able?
      Otherwise I could just get a patent on a full 3d head mounted display with 120 degrees field of view and 4k pixel resolution per eye at 120fps in a form factor that looks like a cool pair of sunglasses, with full head tracking. Sure, it's what I wish existed, and I can definitely imagine it and even make pretty drawings showing the purported field of view and stylish sunglasses look, but that is a long wa

  • Apple's solution uses two peripheral lights to show two different images to each eye 'to create an enhanced viewing experience for the user.

    All I thought of when I read that was that episode of Star Trek TNG where that addictive game shows up from Risa and everyone on the ship is playing it while the Enterprise is about to be stolen out from underneath them, except Wesley and Data.

  • What happened to Steve Mann's prior art from the 1980s until today?
  • Here are the next steps for Apple:

    (1) Wait until Google Glass comes out, take it apart and learn about the technology, build a patent fence around it. Optionally, hire away a few key people from Google to help in that effort.

    (2) Buy some failing startup that creates augmented reality hardware. Gussy up the failing product with some shiny, market the hell out of it, pretend Apple invented it.

    (3) Start suing everybody (including Google) for violating Apple's patents and designs.

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      and that's how you innovate the apple way.
    • I think this is unlikely. Apple was recently granted a patent. According to the patent itself, it was filed Oct. 13, 2006. Patents like this Apple are very specific in how it functions and it probably took some time to get it working and file the paperwork.

      Google has likely started their patent paperwork already. At this point Apple simply cannot change the functionality and claim it under the same patent, and while the end result appears similar between Apple's patent and Google Glass, the functional

  • Please! Please start an innovation consortium and develop this technology together. Than to each his own products based on whatever vision you might have. This way, we all benefit: the companies invest in innovation and unleash all the R&D prowess they both have, technology gets developed faster for lower prices and the general public can see nice products everywhere.

    And with the money you save on laywers, you can release them in all nice hip colours.

    (PS there is even more advantages: the patent offices can stop wasting time on obvious developments, Apple's image gets a little better, the judicial system gets time for real criminals and patent trolls are left alone in the rain)

  • I seem to remember another Apple patent that did something very interesting. It had most (all?) of the electronics, lasers and what not on a separate unit that presumably would be worn on the belt (or I guess hand held).

    Then, it would deliver the images VIA FIBER OPTICS (I guess like an endoscope) up to the "glasses" where presumably they would be displayed. This would (presumably) keep the weight and bulkiness of the glasses down although it introduces a cable. Still since having a cable hasn't kept mil

  • I think if this patent really works then apple will surely give a good fight to rivals.
  • So, Google has been making a push for heads-up display computing devices ( I like to call them stupidity enhancers ). Google has tonnes of money and supposedly a never ending supply of "smart" people working diligently on new ideas.

    In light of how litigious Apple has become and how aggressively Apple publicly pursuing to "destroy Google", why on earth would Google allow ANY market intrusion for heads-up display devices by Apple?

    I mean if I were Google I would have flooded the patent office with application

  • Why is this stuff patentable? We applied to do an SBIR (which we lost) to provide a glasses-based repair manual reference for fighter plane repair crews in the field to help lead them through repairs. In 1989.

    Stuff that projects on the inside of your glasses, or directly into your eyeballs, one eye, two eyes, or two eyes binocular, has been around as an idea since before I was even born, in science fiction.

    There is no mysterious thing developed here. People just had to plug together already-existing tech

  • This sounds exactly like the color-changing LEDs that were used in flat panel televisions to project light onto the wall surrounding a wall-mounted television, except of course it's in a head-mounted display. Is that really worthy of a patent? Besides, I would rather have a head-mounted display with a single screen that wrapped all the way around the width of the user's peripheral vision. Stereoscopic images could be displayed by splitting the screen in the center and sending different images to each sid

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