Apple has obtained a patent for an AR / VR headset that uses a dynamic-focus 3D screen that projects images directly onto the retina.

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Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent for a mixed reality headset with a Dynamic Focus 3D display. While conventional VR systems project left and right images onto screens viewed by a subject, Apple’s new method uses a direct retinal projector system that scans images, pixel by pixel, directly onto the subject’s retina.

Overall, Apple states that their invention covers a direct retinal projector system that provides dynamic focus for virtual reality (VR) and / or augmented reality (AR). A direct retinal projection system scans images, pixel by pixel, directly onto the subject’s retina. This allows individual pixels to be dynamically optically affected as images are scanned to the subject’s retinas. Dynamic focusing components and techniques are described which can be used in a retinal direct projector system to dynamically and correctly focus each pixel in VR images as the images are scanned into a subject’s eyes. This allows objects, surfaces, etc. which are intended to appear at different distances in a scene to be projected towards the subject’s eyes at the correct depth.

Further, in a stereoscopic system, the images displayed to the user can cause the eye (s) to focus at a far distance while an image is physically displayed at a closer distance. In other words, the eyes may attempt to focus on an image plane or focal depth different from the focal depth of the projected image, thereby causing eye strain and / or increased mental stress.

Hosting-convergence mismatch issues are undesirable and can distract users or affect their level of enjoyment and endurance (i.e. tolerance) of virtual reality or augmented reality environments. Apple’s invention is to overcome this problem.

Described herein are embodiments of dynamic focusing components and techniques for direct retinal projector systems that may, for example, resolve the convergence-accommodation conflict in AR and VR systems.

Embodiments of dynamic focusing components and techniques can be used in a retinal direct projector system to properly focus each pixel in VR images as the images are scanned into a subject’s eyes.

A VR or AR headset system is disclosed that can include or implement dynamic focus components and techniques in a direct retinal projector system.

The human brain typically uses two cues to assess distance: accommodation (i.e. focus of the eye) and convergence of the eye (i.e. difference in stereoscopic perspective between the two eyes). Conventional near-eye VR systems, such as DLP (digital light processing), LCD (liquid crystal display), and LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) technology VR systems, typically use separate displays for each eye. respective to project the images intended for the left eye and the right eye, as well as optics to enable a user to focus the eyes at a far distance while viewing the left and right eye images.

To create a three-dimensional (3D) effect, objects at different depths or distances in the two images are shifted left or right based on the distance triangulation, with closer objects being more shifted than objects farther away. .

While conventional VR systems project left and right images onto screens viewed by a subject, Apple’s new method uses a direct retinal projector system that scans images, pixel by pixel, directly onto the subject’s retina.

This aspect of retinal direct projector systems allows individual pixels to be optically dynamically affected as images are scanned toward the subject’s retinas. The dynamic focusing components and techniques used in the Apple patent can be used in a direct retinal projector system to dynamically and correctly focus each pixel of VR images as the images are scanned into a subject’s eyes.

This allows content (objects, surfaces, etc.) that is intended to appear at different depths in a scene to be projected into the subject’s eyes at the correct depths.

Apple’s patent FIG. 14 is a logical block diagram of a frame for a VR / AR device; FIG. 15 is a logical block diagram of a device that provides augmented reality (AR) to a subject.

Apple has added 20 new patent claims to its original invention which covers “a device” and “a system”. For details, see Apple issued patent 11,070,785.

The inventor of Apple is Alexander Shpunt, architect, came to Apple after the acquisition of PrimeSense from Israel which was behind Apple’s TrueDepth camera. Being the inventor of this invention gives it more credibility and likelihood that it will hit the market.

10.52FX - Bar granted patent


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