Speculation about Apple VR and mixed-reality headphones continues to grow. The latest discovery provides more evidence that headphones will skip controllers in favor of tracking the body (and fingers).
This is detailed in a new patent discovered by Apple Patently. In it, we see how Apple VR headsets use external cameras and sensors to generate 3D models of the user’s fingertips to feel when they interact with real objects.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve already heard rumors about Apple VR headsets using this system. Extensively Bloomberg report published news of that particular function, while a separate report from Information he claimed that the headphones would contain twelve different surveillance cameras.
So it’s certainly not surprising that Apple has patents for things like this. Especially since that means the company can direct control of the headphones by skipping external remote controls and controllers.
The patent itself mentions that the system will be able to use a combination of cameras, depth sensors and alignment algorithms to enable hand and finger tracking. Crucially, finger tracking seems to involve tracking each individual finger, so it can be registered if you touch anything or make certain gestures in the air.
An example used in the patent includes a user swinging his finger “in front of the camera to communicate with the physical environment or log in to an account.”
We can’t guarantee that this exact system will really reach the final Apple VR headphones. Finally, patents are often filed for various reasons and left to collect dust. But given what we’ve already heard about the headphones supposedly working, it would be surprising if Apple didn’t include something very similar.
What else to expect from an Apple VR headset?
Although the term “VR headset” is often thrown away, it sounds like Apple headphones are set to offer an awful lot more. It is said that the headphones are the forerunners of Apple glasses, which will completely offer augmented reality in otherwise ordinary glasses.
VR headsets are reportedly used to prepare developers (and the public) for their current AR ambitions. It will continue to offer virtual and mixed reality experiences, but it is also reported to allow full AR passageway that will allow you to see virtual objects in the real world. This is partly why there should be so many outdoor cameras and sensors.
We’ve heard rumors of the inclusion of LiDAR, dual 8K screens, eye tracking, and even external controllers. True, despite setting up a robust body tracking system, the patent revealed that Apple at least considered using ‘smart rings’ to offer more precisely tuned hand and finger tracking.
But it all costs money. It is rumored that the headphones could cost up to $ 3,000. So this is a much bigger purchase than, say, Oculus Quest 2 for $ 299. Hell, that’s the cost of three iPhone 12 Pros.
Apple of course hasn’t confirmed anything, and we’ll have to wait a while before Cupertino blesses us with some of the specifics. By mid-2022, if current rumors are to be believed.
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