A patent filed by Apple explains how the Californian giant intends to use eye tracking in its virtual reality headset to improve your virtual experience, or to serve many other uses, including educational ones.
While we are probably just a stone’s throw away from the launch of Apple’s first virtual/mixed reality headset, which should arrive early next year, a patent filed by the American giant has just been published and gives some ideas on what we can expect from this future product in terms of functions and uses.
Eye tracking at the heart of many uses
The document thus details the way in which the future helmet of Apple could precisely follow the glance of the user, while displaying this information on a Mac. This could allow several uses. The first would obviously be to control the device by determining which element of the interface is the object of attention – this could even be used to alleviate the 3D calculations required by concentrating, in real time, the effort on the area watched. The second could also be a means of determining the hot zones in an environment, those where the gaze lingers, those which attract the most interest.
This can have many applications. As part of a website, this would give its administrators a way to know what its visitors are looking for, which could impact a more personalized experience or even display ads more tailored to your tastes.
But the patent also explains how this system would allow the helmet to determine the behavior of a user in a virtual environment. Gaze tracking could thus be used for educational purposes. If the user is in a flight simulator, for example, knowing what he is looking at and when he is looking at it can help to ensure his efficiency, his attention, and his knowledge of the environment reproduced in virtual reality. An examiner could thus, in real time, check that the right reflexes have been acquired, or guide the pilot in training more precisely.
It could also make it possible to recreate the virtual experience, in a given game or environment, on the screen of the computer connected to the headset for this purpose.
Looking to the future
Eye-tracking technologies in virtual reality headsets are obviously not exclusive to or invented by the Cupertino giant. Headsets like the Quest Pro, from Meta, already offer such technologies. That’s why it seems pretty certain that eye tracking is built into Apple’s headset. The uses described in the patent will not necessarily all be described, as is always the case with this type of document. It is nevertheless interesting to register this function in a longer time.
Indeed, the virtual reality headset from Apple is one of the major novelties expected this year. This is perhaps the most important. The Cupertino giant does not launch into a new market every day. But even more interesting, we know that this product is thought by Apple as a step towards another new product, the impact of which could be much greater – as much and more than the “modern” smartphone according to the opinion of many experts and Apple’s expectations. Indeed, the software developments made using the VR headset could well serve to enrich the experience offered by the future augmented reality glasses on which Apple is also working. The tracking of the gaze would then take on a whole different interest. Admittedly, it would allow you to know if you watched an advertising display, but it could prevent you from inadvertently, because you are not looking in the right place, injuring yourself by missing a step, or hitting a post. Apple is a big user of technological trickle-down, so it’s a safe bet that we’ll hear about the applications detailed in this patent again one day soon.
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Apple: why its virtual reality headset could well follow your gaze
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