Apple’s Unlikely Glass Rival
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Apple patents are a dime a dozen and cover a very wide swath of products, processes and technologies. What’s more, Apple often patents products, processes and technologies that will never become a reality.
It’s smart business, really: If Apple patents every good idea, another company will eventually have to fork some money over Cupertino’s way to build their dream product. Of course, said company will also have to march forward in the knowledge that their product was not only dreamt up and patented by another company first, but that it wasn’t good enough for one of the richest companies in the world.
As such, Apple patents rarely contain any real news or any future products. When an Apple patent does contain real news about an upcoming product, Apple pays good money to have it held until the detailed product launches. Therefore, Apple patent news is mostly meant for entertainment value for those Apple fans who like to dream and wonder “What if?”
So, it’s with this precursor that I present to you, The Latest In Apple Patents.
What makes this particular patent so news-worthy is the fact that it’s already been done before, by none other than Apple Nemesis, Google.
On Thursday, the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded a patent to Apple for a device which looks to be an awful lot like Google’s latest push to make their users resemble the name of their mobile OS, Google Glass.
Entitled “Peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays,” this likely farcical device will display images onto your eyeballs via a wearable display. Yes, just like Google Glass.
The abstract for the patent, according to the Patent and Trademark website, reads thusly:
“A first display projects an image viewable by a first eye of the user. A first peripheral light element is positioned to emit light of one or more colors in close proximity to the periphery of the first display. A receives data representing a source image, processes the data representing the source image to generate a first image for the first display and to generate a first set of peripheral conditioning signals for the first peripheral light element, directs the first image to the first display, and directs the first set of peripheral conditioning signals to the first peripheral light element.”
Using one or two LCDs, an image is projected onto the wearer’s eyeballs, reaching out even into the wearer’s periphery. So, unlike Google’s Glass (because it just couldn’t be exactly like a Google device) Apple’s eyeGlass (really couldn’t help myself) is meant to be a sit-down-and-enjoy-yourself device, rather than a holy-crap-I’m-skydiving-over-san Francisco device.
Previously on The Latest In Apple Patents, the New York Times reported that Apple had begun working on a sort of “wearable computer,” noting they had hired a “wearable computer engineer” in 2010. Apple has also filed patents for other wearable computers dating back to 2008. So, while it’s not likely we’ll see something like these glasses in the near future, (Hell, even Google can’t bring them to market) it’s worth noting that Apple let one of their engineers draw up something nice for the US Patent and Trademark Office.