Apple researching how to make 'Apple Glass' self cleaning

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 10
Future head-mounted displays, such as "Apple Glass" may automatically remove dust obstructing the wearer's view.




If you wear glasses, you also have a cloth you use to repeatedly clean them, and you may still need to wipe over "Apple Glass." However, a newly-revealed patent application shows that Apple is looking to keep the inside of the device clean by itself.

The newly-granted patent, "Particle Control for Head-Mountable Device," discusses how a device could itself remove dust or other debris, from what Apple refers to as "optical modules."

"The quality of the view provided by the optical module can be dependent on the clarity of the optical pathway between the source of the image and the eye of the user," says the patent application.

"For example, particles (e.g., dust, debris, foreign object, and/or other materials) along the optical pathway can obstruct, distort, and/or otherwise adversely affect the view provided to the user," it continues.

"In particular, where a display element includes a high-resolution display, such particles on a surface of the display element can block entire pixels and/or multiple pixels, such that the image transmitted to the user is altered from its intended form," says Apple.

According to Apple, this is a problem that only increases "during the lifespan of the head-mountable device." And it can happen even if the device is "sealed to prevent and/or limit ingress of substantially all particles from an external environment."

Over time, "degradation, erosion, friction, wear, and/or aging of components," can mean that, "particles can migrate," or "collect on the display element."

Apple's proposal is that the device itself works to remove dust, capturing "the particles so they do not interfere with the user's view of and/or through optical elements." One way this could be achieved is by vibration.

Detail from the patent application showing different ways a lens, or other optical device, could be moved to dislodge debris
Detail from the patent application showing different ways a lens, or other optical device, could be moved to dislodge debris


"For example, the display element and/or another optical element can be moved in a manner that releases particles on a viewing surface thereof," says the patent application. "The optical module can include a particle retention element that securely retains the particles so that they remain outside of the optical pathway."

So "Apple Glass" could shake such dust particles free, and collect them somewhere safely out of the wearer's view. This shaking could be done automatically as the device detects an issue, or when the wearer chooses to use it.

The patent is credited to five inventors, including Ivan S. Maric. His previous work for Apple includes a design for how a MacBook Pro could adopt a HomePod style sensing of its environment.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    15 min
    1.5kg

    kg? That's a lot of debris! Or a weird typo in that image.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    All this from the Company which sells a 'Polishing Cloth' for $19. Yeah, they got it covered.
    edited May 10
  • Reply 3 of 6
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,937member
    Sure, it can clean the dust from its lens, but can it clean the sand from my eyes?
  • Reply 4 of 6
    The way the feature rumors for this thing are piling up, wait until you see how well it attempts to clean every nickel from our pockets...

    ...plus our credit limit with Apple Pay. 
  • Reply 5 of 6
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,053member
    Neat idea. Dust tends to be electrically charged, so removal from a surface by shaking might be tricky, or sticky. 
    edited May 11
  • Reply 6 of 6
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 793member
    hexclock said:
    Neat idea. Dust tends to be electrically charged, so removal from a surface by shaking might be tricky, or sticky. 
    My Sony "DSLR" (one is actually mirrorless) cameras have a "remove dust from sensor function.  The anti-shake/motion feature is by moving the sensor around, not something in the lens (like some other Mfgs.)  They use the same sensor motion motors to "vibrate" the sensor to remove dust from it.  There's an option in the menu system to activate it. 

    I think my oldest camera body is at least eight years old...
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