April 16, 2010 report
Apple patent application for 3D viewing glasses
(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 iPhone, 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 gadgets 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 patent application 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. Apple never comments on patent applications.
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