The US Patent Office on Tuesday granted software giant Apple a patent for a head-mounted peripheral display. This grant comes just days after Google announced their latest innovation called ‘Google Project Glass’, on similar lines. One may be lead to believe that Apple is trying to rip off its fellow competitor. However, the Apple patent was filed years ago in 2006, putting to rest any such rumors. The patent titled “peripheral treatment for head mounted displays” talks about how images can be used to create a peripheral display that would generate a better viewing experience for the user.
Google Glass to face competition from Apple?
The company has termed it’s invention a head mounted display (HMD) rather than a head up display (HUD). Designed to show video data in front of one’s eyes, Apple’s iGlass is described to have a couple of CRT, OLED, or LCD displays fitted in an easily wearable item like a helmet, or a visor. Using two displays, stereoscopic 3D data can be seen by the wearer. Using reflective mirrors, a transparent image superimposed on the world before the wearer can be transmitted. This technology, Apple says can be used in: medical surgery applications where CAT or MRI scans can be integrated with the surgeon’s line of vision, for military workforce, police and firefighters who can make use of the display to see tactical data, and finally for scientists and engineers who can be benefitted from the stereoscopic CAD drawings.
Another important feature of the Apple patent was how using a peripheral vision could help prevent the wearer from experiencing motion sickness, which other HMDs can result in sometimes. Wearers would be given the choice of adjusting the device so that it gives a comfortable usage experience. Further, the device would be able to receive video and image data from an external source like an iPhone or an iPad.
On the other hand, Google’s Sergei Brin revealed the ‘Project Glass’ on similar lines. Granted the patent in June, Google’s eye directed technology will open its prototype to sale for the participants of the Google I/O conference, early next year. Mass production and availability of the device has been planned a couple of years later.
Brin demonstrated how using the glasses, directions to the wearer’s destinations or text messages can be displayed right in front of the eye. The wearer will be able to do everything he did on his Smartphone, computer or tablet like video chatting, clicking pictures or even online shopping, while being comfortably aware of his surroundings. The basic idea is to bypass these other hand held devices, and provide data in the most accessible form.
What’s different between the two?
Google’s patent is very product-specific- it’s for a wearable display with an integrated finger tracking input sensor. On the contrary, Apple’s patent is a broader one and covers a number of HMD technology applications. Who’s better? Let’s wait and watch for that.