Apple has been granted a patent for 3D finger modelling and in-air gesture recognition for what looks like the rumoured Apple VR headset.
The device — codenamed N301 — is yet to be officially announced by Apple, but is all but confirmed at this point. And, by the looks of it, you’ll be able to use your fingers as controllers.
According to a patent published by the US Patent & Trademark Office, this one is for a system that is capable of “generating a 3D model of a fingertip for visual touch detection.”
TL;DR: your finger is the controller.
“Generating a 3D model may include determining, based on sensor data from a touch sensor on a first device, a touch event, wherein the touch event comprises a touch on the first device by a touching object. Generating a 3D model may also include, in response to a touch event, obtaining a first image of the touching object by a first camera of the first device, and obtaining, from a second device, a second image of the touching object, wherein the first image of the touching object captures a first view of the touching object, and wherein the second image of the touching object captures a second view of the touching object. A model of the touching object is generated based on the first image and the second image,” the abstract released by the US Patent & Trademark Office reads.
The patent also includes a diagram, which gives us a glimpse into how the finger modelling technology could work:
Interestingly, the patent is clearly for the rumoured VR headset, and not the already-confirmed Apple Glasses, which seemingly confirms what we’ve all assumed: Apple VR is coming.
According to Bloomberg, the VR headset is set to be a “pricey, niche precursor” to the highly-anticipated AR Apple Glasses, and will incorporate some augmented reality functions, but will focus primarily on virtual reality.
Obviously, the systems are in the very early stages of production, but at least this serves as some kind of confirmation that Apple is at least tinkering with a potential VR headset.
So what else do we know about the rumoured VR headset?
Perhaps most excitingly, the device will reportedly be equipped with dual 8K displays (as well as eye-tracking software that will hopefully prevent the aforementioned 8K displays from draining the battery too fast).
Additionally, it looks like the headset will also come with wearable haptic controllers, presumably to work alongside the new 3D modelling software Apple just patented.
As for the design, MacRumors reports that the headset has been described as having a “sleek, curved visor attached to the face by a mesh material and swappable headbands.” The headset is also reportedly set to be super lightweight at 100-200 grams (aka much lighter than the popular Oculus Quest)
And the price, you ask? Well, you might want to sit down for this.
Obviously, nothing has been confirmed by Apple yet, but according to The Information, the device is priced at a staggering $3,000. So you probably want to have started saving yesterday if you want to buy one of these bad boys on release day.
Considering Apple is only predicting to sell one of these per day, as per Bloomberg sources, the price sounds about right.
According to various sources, the VR headset is expected to make its debut sometime in 2022 and, by my calculations, that means we could be immersing ourselves in 8K VR as early as *checks notes* NEXT YEAR.