Apple Patents Reveal Eye-Tracking Tech Behind Future AR Headset

This new patent is the fifth that could contribute to a future MR HMD.


Apple believes that "AR is going to dramatically change the way this generation learns" and the company probably has its finger on the pulse of other industries augmented reality can impact. As far as what the company itself is doing regarding the hardware side of AR and mixed reality as a whole, an unearthed patent hints at eye-tracking and near-infrared (NIR) camera systems for a future mixed reality headset.

Patently Apple is credited with the find, adding a fifth invention to four previously covered items that could be used in autonomous vehicles, as a desktop replacement, as a next-gen mobile computer. and more. This fifth find involves an advanced eye-tracking system that uses hot mirrors and a NIR camera system. Additional details are referenced in the report:

"Apple notes in their patent filing that virtual reality (VR) allows users to experience and/or interact with an immersive artificial environment, such that the user feels as if they were physically in that environment. For example, virtual reality systems may display stereoscopic scenes (3D scenes) to users in order to create an illusion of depth, and a computer may adjust the scene content in real-time to provide the illusion of the user moving within the scene.
When the user views images through a virtual reality system, the user may feel as if they are moving within the scenes from a first-person point of view. Similarly, mixed reality (MR) combines computer generated information (referred to as virtual content) with real-world images or a real-world view to augment, or add content to, a user's view of the world.
The simulated environments of VR and/or the mixed environments of MR may be utilized to provide an interactive user experience for multiple applications, such as applications that add virtual content to a real-time view of the viewer's environment, interacting with virtual training environments, gaming, remotely controlling drones or other mechanical systems, viewing digital media content, interacting with the Internet, or the like."

An actual device that could take the form of a headset, helmet, goggles, or glasses is described, breaking down the lenses and Patently Apple digs even deeper into what the HMD will look and function like. Apple won't be the only major company with skin in the game if forecasts like $5.5 billion for the automotive AR industry even come close to being realized. PogoTec's AR accessory could be the key, but other entities have to figure out an accessible AR solution before mass consumption.

Stay tuned to Shacknews for more updates.

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Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at

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