The number of patents that Apple has received and applied for that is related to Apple Glass tells us that this is a device the company is very serious about bringing to market. But there are so many questions about what exactly Apple will deliver first. Some believe that a bulky mixed reality (AR and VR) headset will launch ahead of the launch of the sleeker, AR-based Apple Glass.
The latest patent application, spotted by AppleInsider, having something to do with Apple's next headset is called "Eye Tracking Method and Device Using Event Camera Data." The document first explains that in typical systems, the direction in which the user is looking is determined by an eye tracking system that includes a camera. The camera is focused on the user's gaze which is transmitted to a processor.
But Apple stresses that it would take a connection with "sufficient bandwidth" to handle eye tracking at the required frame rate. This would cause the harness to generate a lot of heat and drain the battery of the device. Apple was therefore at a crossroads and decided to use a less intensive tracking system. The light is projected onto the user's eye and the reflection is tracked. Since the system would know the amount of light projected into the eyes, the data generated by the reflection could help track the user's eyes.
In an illustration from Apple's patent application, the light is directed at the user's eyes and the reflection is used to create data used for eye tracking
As stated in the patent, "The method comprises receiving light intensity data indicative of an intensity of the emitted light reflected from the user's eye as a plurality of highlights. The method comprises determining a user's eye-tracking characteristic based on the light intensity data. "
Will Apple Glass be the next big thing for Apple? Three years ago, analyst Gene Munster of Loup Ventures predicted that Apple Glass will end up being bigger than the iPhone. It seems hard to imagine especially since as of yet, we haven't seen the smart glasses in action yet. Tipster Jon Prosser says an iPhone will be needed for the setup process, and like the Apple Watch, during its early years, the iPhone could be called upon to handle the processing of the device. Prosser expects the glasses-style version to cost $ 499 plus the cost of prescription lenses.