Apple files for a Google Glass-like patent

We all know about Project Glass. For those who don’t know what it is about, it is a research and development program by Google which aims at developing an augmented reality head mounted display (HMD). The goal of Project Glass products is to provide a way to deliver hands free displaying of information which is currently accessible by most smartphone users. With the device, the user can interact with the Internet using natural language voice instructions, and expect the device to behave in a way similar to how Siri does on the iPhone.

Following the demo video of Project Glass by Google, Apple was granted a patent related to glasses. The patent was filed by Apple on October 13, 2006 and outlines how image can be projected to user’s eyes using a head mounted display apparatus. The device will basically obtain and process information in order to generate images that will be ultimately displayed in front of user’s eyes using a mead mounted display. According to device’s description on the patent, it should be noted that the glass technology that Apple won the patent for is less of a mobile display and more of a personalized computer display.

After quite a long time gap, Apple has filed another patent related to “portable heads-up display”. Seems like Apple is planning to build a Google Glass like device that will compete with Google some time in future. The patent filing by Apple that was published by U.S. Patent and Trade Office outlines a technology that can increase the effective resolution of a display without actually increasing the pixel count. Such a kind of technology can be used in scenario such as head mounted display where limiting the number of pixels is very useful.

“In particular, a portable heads-up display may be size and weight constrained such that addition of physical pixels may not be practical,” Apple wrote in the filing. “Conventionally, fewer physical pixels may mean lower cost to manufacture, lower weight, smaller size, but also lower resolution.”

Using the proposed technology, one can increase the resolution of a display while not increasing the actual pixel count, the result of which would be a small lightweight device that is economical to produce.

In the previous patent filing that we discussed above, Apple had specifically mentioned the invention of a “head-mounted display apparatus” which could basically project images to user’s eye, but the device in that patent wasn’t portable enough. Combining such a device with new technology that Apple proposed yesterday, the result could be an extremely portable Google Glass like device.

Though Apple has applied for a patent, it has nothing to do with Apple actually launching such a device in market. It is worth nothing that a patent is simply a way to “protect” a new technology legally rather than actually launching in the market, so we assure you that such a device from Apple isn’t round the corner. Besides, Apple is popular for applying patents that never see light of the day.

Apart from head mounted displays, the Cupertino based technology giant is also planning to make use of iPhone as a game controller. Another Apple patent that was published yesterday outlines ways in which an iPhone can tap into near field communications (NFC) in order to couple with other devices. According to this patent, an iPhone could be used as a pad for gaming consoles and other gadgets. Next-gen iPhone that is round the corner is expected to have NFC built in. Let’s see if Apple will do something amazing using this technology.

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