Apple looks to eliminate screens entirely according to a patent published by the USPTO.
This week the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent filed by Apple Inc. for a new type of hybrid VR/AR device that does away with conventional screens in favor of a Dynamic Focus 3D Display that projects images directly unto the users retinas.
Why do this you ask? Well, Apple believes that current VR and AR hardware could be responsible for all types of unnecessary eyestrain as a result of “accommodation-convergence mismatch,” a problem that arises when a VR or AR system creates virtual content that does not match the focal depth expected by the users brain, often resulting in nausea, headaches, and other discomforts. Simply put, your eyes are attempting to adjust to the depth of objects in both the foreground as well as the background simultaneously.
Image Credit: Patently Apple, The United States Patent and Trademark Office
Apple’s approach would remove displays altogether, eliminating any chance of accommodation-convergence mismatch by using a direct retinal projector system to accurately focus each individual pixel as they’re projected unto the eyes of the user.
While it’s true Apple has a long-standing track record of filing patents for outrageous tech that almost never hit the production floor, there may be some hope for this Snow Crash-esque device. According to Patently Apple, the architect behind the design is Alexander Shpunt, founder and CEO of PrimeSense, a subsidiary of Apple Inc. responsible for the design of Apple’s powerful TrueDepth camera.
While I don’t think conventional displays are going away anytime soon, it’s exciting to see a company as big as Apple begin to explore the potential of retina projection technology.