Apple has finally been granted a patent for an augmented reality device, could it be coming to iOS?
After first putting forward the idea in 2010, Apple has finally been awarded a patent for an augmented reality system which will combine real-life images with an overlay of computer-generated images. This patent will allow Apple iOS devices to receive a live stream of information to overlay on an image, which would allow for your field of vision to see extra computer-generated info.
Apple said the following in their patent filing:
Information about the real world environment can be stored and retrieved as an information layer which can be overlaid on the live view and interacted with by a user…Despite strong academic and commercial interest in AR systems, many existing AR systems are complex and expensive, making such systems unsuitable for general use by the average consumer
There were real use examples given in the filing such as a teacher being able to hold the augmented reality device over a student’s paper which would automatically allow them to see incorrect answers. Here are two of the examples that Apple gave in its patent filing:
an outline showing incorrect answers to exam questions can be displayed in the live video to assist the teacher in grading the exam paper
an outline identifying parts and providing excerpts from a repair manual or schematics can be displayed in the live video to assist the mechanic in repairing the engine
Not only can this device portray things in 2D like many expected it to, but it will work with 3D images as well and a user can alternate between the two or use them each in a split-view. As far as how the device would operate and receive information, Apple said this:
Data can be received from one or more onboard sensors indicating that the device is in motion,” the filing said. “The sensor data can be used to synchronize the live video and the information layer as the perspective of video camera view changes due to the motion. The live video and information layer can be shared with other devices over a communication link
As more and more companies dabble in augmented reality technology, it makes sense that Apple would try and beat everyone to the finish line and release a product that includes it (some companies already have augmented reality in their devices, but it has been widely unsuccessful.) So, do you think that they will include augmented reality features in one of their upcoming iOS devices, or will this technology not be ready for years to come?