Just in case you thought Apple’s spatial computer wasn’t sufficiently expensive, a newly granted patent describes the possibility of a wide range of Vision Pro accessories.
These include additional cameras, for an even wider field of view, and a range of different sensors to add capabilities to the headset …
Spotted by Patently Apple, the patent says that trying to offer every feature different users might want could make the device prohibitively expensive. Additionally, it might be hard to fit every possible component into the physical space of the headset.
Space, cost, and other considerations may limit the ability to provide every component that might provide a desired function. For example, different users may have different preferences regarding the components and functions that are provided by a given head-mountable device. Some users may desire certain capabilities, such as high-resolution display and long battery life, while other users may desire other capabilities, such as smaller form factor.
Furthermore, a given user may desire different functions at different times. For example, a given user may desire high-resolution display at home and long battery life when outside the home.
For these reasons, says Apple, a modular design makes sense – with some features provided by accessories that can be attached to the head-mounted device.
Systems of the present disclosure can provide a head-mountable device with attachable and exchangeable accessory devices that provide a variety of different components and functions to achieve the results that are desired by a user.
The attachable and exchangeable configurations allow a user to easily customize a head-mountable device with one or more accessory devices to provide features that integrate with other operations of the head-mountable device. The accessory devices can be easily exchanged with each other to provide different components and functions at different times.
Accordingly, a main portion of the head-mountable device need not include permanent components that provide every function that will later be desired by the user. Instead, the head-mountable device can have expanded and customizable capabilities by the use of one or more accessory devices.
While Apple has made no mention of optional accessories for the Vision Pro headset it announced, we do know that it already has a somewhat modular design – with different face cushions and light seals to suit different head sizes, and the option of prescription lens inserts. Notably, these features are referenced in the same patent.
For example, different accessory devices can have different sizes and/or shapes to accommodate different head and/or face structures. This can allow a user to choose from among multiple accessory devices that provide different ergonomic features so the user can select one according to comfort provided.
Apple also describes fashion accessories, and it’s not hard to imagine a set of different-colored headbands, for example, in a similar way to the optional bands you can buy for the Apple Watch. Extra batteries, in different capacities, also seems a no-brainer.
By further example, different accessory devices can have different aesthetic features to provide the user with different options for fashion and appearance.
We’ve already seen that third-party companies plan to offer their own fashion accessories for the device.
Given Apple’s strong health focus, it’s not surprising that some of the proposed accessories are health sensors of various kinds.
One or more bio-sensors can include optical and/or electronic biometric sensors that may be used to compute one or more biometric characteristics. For example, a bio-sensor can include a light source and a photodetector to form a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor. An optical (e.g., PPG sensor or sensors may be used to compute various biometric characteristic including, without limitation, a heart rate, a respiration rate, blood oxygenation level, a blood volume estimate, blood pressure, or a combination thereof. One or more of the bio-sensors may also be configured to perform an electrical measurement using one or more electrodes. The electrical sensors may be used to measure electrocardiographic (ECG) characteristics, galvanic skin resistance, and other electrical properties of the user’s body. Additionally or alternatively, a bio-sensor can be configured to measure body temperature, exposure to UV radiation, and other health-related information.
The big question, then, is: Does Apple have unannounced Vision Pro accessories up its sleeve, or is this something for a future model? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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