Apple has reportedly been granted a new patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office that reveals the company’s work in improving its AR motion controllers. Titled “Electronic device system with controllers,” the Cupertino giant appears to develop a tech for Apple AR controllers that will detect fingers without covering the hand. At the moment, Apple uses hand-held controllers with a selection of buttons and sensors to detect the position of the user’s hand or fingers. Apart from this, hand tracking gloves are also used, but they also have their own issues.
The new patent bagged by Apple suggests that the company’s AR and VR systems could soon start using wearable controllers with extending sections. This would allow the system to sense the “user’s fingers pressing a surface without covering the fingertips.” As per the report, the tech giant “attempts to solve the problem with more refined hand-held controller concepts.”
Apple’s Next-gen AR Controller Would Allow Free Finger Movement
While looking at the basic design of this new hand-gripped controller, it appears to have a tubular body that can be gripped by the thumb and fingers. This will allow free monitored finger movement, and the patent suggests that the finger detection would be possible with different solutions, but typically with the result of keeping the fingertip free. However, some designs suggest that a form of sleeve could cover the sides and top of the finger and leave the sensitive underside open. The mechanism on the sides would stay attached to the finger to detect the finger movement.
You can see from the attached design images that the controller would allow users to grip it with their thumb, and it has holes for fingers. Further, there could be a wristband that the controller may have to anchor the mechanism to the hand. Moreover, it would provide the controller another mounting point for electronics and sensors. There could be several sensors that Apple’s upcoming AR motion controller may use to detect finger movements. These could include motion sensors, optical sensors, 2D force sensors, radio-frequency sensors, and acoustic sensors. Note that these sensors would be in addition to the other typical sensors used for hand-held controllers.
In the past few days, Apple has bagged quite many patents, and this one among others seems to significantly improve the way users interact with their AR and VR devices.