Apple patent application for 3D viewing glasses

Apr 16, 2010 by Lin Edwards report

( -- Apple has filed a patent application for electronic video spectacles that will allow wearers to watch films in 3D on the inside of the glasses. Fans have already nicknamed the gadget iSpecs.

Users would attach their , iPod, or other device to the spectacles, which have a special lens that can split the image into two frames — one for each eye — and then project the image onto the spectacles. The two images would create a stereoscopic effect since they would appear to have been taken from slightly different angles, and this would simulate 3D.

According to the patent application (number 20100079356) the images would be equivalent to high definition in quality, and sensors inside the spectacles would detect the precise location of the wearer’s eyes to ensure the image is projected at exactly the right place and is comfortable to watch. The device could be controlled by the wearer’s head movements, such as nodding or head shaking, or by voice control. Sound would be provided by earphones fitted into the device. To enhance the viewing experience, the spectacles could even vibrate in response to content such as explosions.

The spectacles would also incorporate a small camera and infrared sensors embedded in the frames to stream video of the surroundings to a smaller screen in the glasses if anyone approached or tried to gain their attention while they were watching the film. The aim of this system is to make people feel more comfortable about wearing the glasses in public, such as during plane, train, or bus trips.

There are already a few video glasses that can be plugged into an iPod to allow viewers to watch films, but none offer 3-D viewing or high-quality images. Another drawback of the previous is that wearers are unable to see what is happening around them, which makes them reluctant to wear them in public.

Some have suspected the is a hoax since news of it was published on the Web on April 1st, but the US Patent and Trademark Office is unlikely to be involved in a hoax and the application was filed in late 2008. never comments on patent applications.

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User comments : 7

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3 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2010
Doesn't that seems too heavy to wear?
not rated yet Apr 16, 2010
Doesn't that seems too heavy to wear?

That's what she said.

I don't know, it looks like a pretty innovative design, but hanging an iPhone on the bridge of my nose doesn't sound too comfortable.
not rated yet Apr 16, 2010
Can they really get a patent for this? What's different about this than the 3D headset used many years ago in virtual reality games... maybe smaller and better quality....
not rated yet Apr 16, 2010
Doesn't that seems too heavy to wear?

There are new LED screen technologies (like OLED) which makes them very light and thin. All the battery/CPU/storage can be attached via a small wire to a device in your pocket like an iPod.
not rated yet Apr 16, 2010
@mark0101 - the drawings indicate an iTouch/iPhone being slid into the frames themselves. I have to question the claims of HD equivalence, if so. Truthfully, I guess it has a chance - but I ain't betting on it.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2010
I showed this to my 10 year old son, and he thought it was a great idea. He envisions playing 3D video games anywhere, anytime. Probably (I'm guessing) a game controller can be plugged into the device. Later evolutions will probably have wireless game controllers. I can also envision the ability to watch videos or play games with another person by linking two headsets together (hopefully through wireless link).

I doubt this "clunky" version will be the final product. It's a patent app, therefore they have to document every possible idea and use, or somebody could come in and issue another patent based on a slight improvement. The actual product won't look anything like this, and may not even use all the variations in the patent app.

Anyway, the concept is great. I think we'll see a lot of these in the future. I'm convinced portable computers (aka laptops) will not have bulky screens in a few years. It will be easy to carry a CPU/Keyboard in a small form factor, plus glasses.
not rated yet Apr 17, 2010
"There are already a few video glasses that can be plugged into an iPod to allow viewers to watch films, but none offer 3-D viewing or high-quality images"

This is wrong, there are many glasses that offer 3D viewing by means of separate images for each eye but apple doesn't allow them to be used. There is a difference.

This almost sounds like an advertisement.

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