Apple has filed a patent application that explains how AR or VR headsets could become thinner and lighter by using optical waveguides and holographic images. It has been reported for quite some time that the company is working on AR or VR headsets of its own.
A new patent by Apple titled “Optical System For Displays” was published earlier today. It suggests that traditional AR and VR headsets use lenses that sit close to the eyes. Such implementations are usually cheaper to produce, but they could also create comfort and FoV (field of view) related issues. Apple’s solution talks about using optical waveguides and holographic images for better user experience.
The waveguides, which replaces a traditional display, can be used to transfer light from an optical system directly into a user’s eyes. The waveguide takes assistance from input and output couplers. The input coupler redirects the light from the display unit into the waveguide, while the output coupler pushes the light into the direction of the eye. The images could be created by holographic optical elements.
Apple’s patent also mentions that the solution could also help redistribute and redirect the light, which usually falls outside of a user’s FoV into the eyes. This can be done by positioning a light redirecting element between the display and the input coupler.
The system could also use two waveguides, one for each eye. It could also use one waveguide, which is tied to two inputs and two outputs. In such an instance, the light redirecting element could use interference patterns that are non-parallel with the interference patterns of the output coupler. This solution could help prevent an image meant for one eye to fall on the other eye accidentally.
Apple has long been publishing patents related to improved AR and VR solutions. Various reports and rumors talk about the company developing some form of AR or VR headset. One report suggests that Apple is developing AR glasses (internally codenamed “T288”). The glasses reportedly run rOS and have an 8K display.[Source: USPTO]