November 3, 2019
Apple recently filed a new augmented reality (AR) patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent contemplates directing light into a user’s eye through lasers that would use multiple light waveguides, holographic lenses, mirrors, and a holographic combiner to generate the 3D augmented imagery.
The patent attempts to solve a long-established issue with current AR and virtual reality (VR) technology, known as the convergence-accommodation conflict. This is an issue in which the user’s brain perceives objects to be closer than they actually are, and occurs in VR and AR headsets. Apple’s new patent application contains a method to project light into a user’s eye without creating a convergence point, allowing an object to appear naturally distant.
It remains to be seen how Apple plans to use the AR technology. It is possible that Apple creates a AR product of its own, or collaborates with a third-party. In August of 2018, Apple acquired Akonia Holographics, a producer of AR lenses.
Authors: Scott Kerr and Matt McDonald