What you need to know
- Apple has been granted a patent relating to eye tracking.
- The tracking unit would likely be head-mounted.
- The patent was originally filed back in 2016.
Apple has been snapping up eye tracking patents all year and its third has now been granted. Just like the others, this one comes from the company's acquisiton of SMI SensoMotoric Instrumments in Germany. And it relates to a fancy head-mounted display system.
As the folks at Patently Apple note, a new patent titled "Eye tracking device and method for operating an eye tracking device" has been granted. This one relates to an eye tracking device that includes an optical system which is capable of capturing at least part of an eye.
The eye tracking device further comprises a processing unit for determining at least one property of the at least one eye, e.g. the gaze direction, based on the captured images. Moreover, the capturing unit is configured to capture a first image and a second image of the at least one part of the at least one eye of the user. The invention also relates to a corresponding method for operating an eye tracking device.
There are multiple potential implementations for such tracking, but they all need to be attached to someone's head in order to work. That could be glasses, a headset, or something else altogether.
The eye tracking device may be a head-mounted eye tracking device, like an eye tracking spectacle device, or an eye tracker integrated in a helmet or also integrated in a head-mounted display device, in virtual reality glasses, in augmented reality glasses or other head worn devices.
We'd strongly suggest checking the Patently Apple piece out because it has way more detail than we're going to get into here. This isn't a particularly new patent either – it was originally filed back in Q4 of 2016 and carries patent number 10,437,327.
It's also very important to remember that not all patents turn into shipping products, especially in the world of Apple. The company applies for patents each and every time one of its engineers invents something worth patenting. Even if it is never likely to appear in a product in Apple's lineup.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
On Apple and the FBI regarding privacy, from San Bernardino to Pensacola
We compare two of the most high-profile Apple news stories in recent memory.
Apple and Google accused of using market dominance to cripple competition
Sonos, Tile, Basecamp and PopSockets have all testified to a House antitrust committee, stating that big tech firms like Amazon, Apple and Google used their market dominance and bullying business tactics to crush competition.
Apple signs multi-year Apple TV+ deal with Seinfeld's Julia Louis-Dreyfous
Apple has signed a multi-year deal with Julia Louise-Dreyfus, formerly of Saturday Night Live and Seinfeld.
The perfect fit for smaller spaces, the best 32-inch TVs
Big-screen TVs are the greatest, but a 55-inch probably doesn't make much sense in your bedroom, kitchen, or smaller living room. 32 inches is often the perfect size for these spaces, and these are the best 32-inch TVs you can buy.