Apple wins a Patent for Advanced Finger-Mounted devices designed to assist mixed reality headset users interact with real & virtual worlds

Today the US Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to sensors for finger-mounted electronic devices that are designed to assist mixed reality headset users interacting with real and virtual worlds.

Technically, Apple’s invention covers a system that includes finger devices. A head-mounted device or other device with a display may display virtual content that is overlaid on real-world content.

A touch sensor may be mounted in a finger device housing to gather input from an external object as the object moves along an exterior surface of the housing. The external object may be, for example, the tip of finger other than a finger received within the finger device.

The touch sensor on a finger device may include a one-dimensional or two-dimensional array of sensor elements. The sensor elements may be capacitive sensor electrodes or touch sensor elements based on optical sensing, ultrasonic sensing, or other types of sensing. In some arrangements, optical sensors, ultrasonic sensors, or other sensors that are mounted in a finger device housing may be configured to gather touch input from an area of ​​a user’s finger that is adjacent to the finger device and that is not overlapped by the finger device.

Sensors such as force sensors, ultrasonic sensors, inertial measurement units, optical sensors, and other components in the finger devices may be used in gathering finger input from a user as the user is viewing virtual content presented with the head-mounted device or other electronic equipment.

Finger input from a user may be used to manipulate virtual objects. For example, a virtual object corresponding to a movable control can be moved by a user based on finger input gathered using a finger device or a displayed menu option can be selected.

In some arrangements, a user may interact with real-world objects while computer-generated content is overlaid over some or all of the objects. Rotation of a real-world object and other interactions with a real-world object and the virtual content overlaid on the real-world object may be used as input for controlling the operation of a mixed reality system or other electronic equipment.

Apple’s patent FIG. 2 below is a top view of an illustrative finger of a user on which a finger device has been placed; FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative finger device on the finger of a user; FIG. 4 is a side view of an illustrative finger device that gathers input from an adjacent area on a finger that is not covered by the finger device in accordance with an embodiment.

Apple’s patent FIG. 5 below is a side view of an illustrative finger device showing how virtual content may be overlaid on the surface of the device and an adjacent finger surface; FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional top view of a portion of an illustrative finger device having a touch sensor array and strain gauge circuitry and having haptic output circuitry mounted on a bendable elongated arm portion of a housing for the finger device; and FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an illustrative finger device with a sensor such as a depth sensor based on multiple cameras with respective digital image sensors.

Enlarge the Patent Figure Graphic below to Read Extra Notes

3 x Finger devices

Apple’s patent FIG. 12 below is a diagram showing how a user may use multiple finger devices and may use these devices to interact with body parts or other objects; FIG. 18 is a perspective view of an illustrative electronic device and associated computer-generated visual content (virtual content) with which a user may interact using one or more finger devices.

Enlarge the Patent Figure Graphic below to Read Extra Notes

4 x finger devices

For more details, review Apple’s granted patent 11,360,558.

In 2019, Patently Apple covered three other finger-mounted device patents from Apple that you could review here: 01, 02 and 03.

10.52FX - Granted Patent Bar

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