By Giacomo Martiradonna Wednesday 26 February 2020
Not only augmented reality visors. Apple is working on special gloves that allow you to touch and feel virtual objects.
February 26, 2020 update
We know that in Cupertino we are working on an Augmented Reality viewer based on RealityOS which we have temporarily renamed Apple Glasses. But glasses are not the only product being tested: on the one hand, we experiment virtual commands projected into the real world, and on the other a pair of special gloves capable of touch virtual objects and feel its fiber and texture.
Apple Glasses: the roadmap of Apple Augmented Reality glasses
A series of rumors that emerged in these hours reveals the Apple Glasses roadmap, Augmented Reality viewers with apple. It starts with iPhone and iPad next year, to reach the first pair of glasses in 2022.
AR Without Gloves
Thanks to a series of depth sensors and cameras placed on the viewers, Apple intends to make possible a very precise tracing of the user's fingers; by measuring the distance between the fingers and the physical surfaces, the viewers will be able to superimpose controls, knobs and virtual keys on a flat surface such as a desk. In theory it could be activated even a virtual keyboard.
The patent that argues for this technology is titled "Depth-Based Touch Detection" and describes a system for "using a depth map to identify an object and a surface, and a classifier to determine when an object is touching the surface. "
AR With Gloves
The other patent is titled "Finger beam for generating haptic feedback" and instead describes gloves equipped with "finger beam technology which makes it possible: 1. to determine the hand movements in real space, and convert this information into commands; 2. experience the virtual world through beams of sensors and haptic feedback components innervated in the tissue.
The result is an incredibly complete multisensory experience:
"for example (…), the display (…) shows a virtual reality game that the user can play. The display (…) could portray the scene of a beach with ocean, waves, trees and sand. A haptic feedback component of the glove could be configured to generate haptic feedback that simulates the sliding of fingers through the sand (…). "
Obviously a patent does not necessarily mean that the product is ready or that it will come even just never launched. But an interesting testimony to the effort that the apple is making on the Virtual Reality front. And if all goes as hoped, Apple Glasses could debut this year. Coronavirus permitting, of course.