Apple patent application reveals work on eye-tracking technology for VR and AR headsets

“Apple has considered ways to detect the eye movements of the wearer of a head-mounted display, such as the company’s long-rumored augmented reality headset, one that uses a system of cameras and mirrors to work out the direction of the user’s gaze while looking at virtual environments,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider.

“The patent application identified as an ‘Eye Tracking System’ describes one method of monitoring how the user looks at a display very close to their eyes, namely in VR and AR headsets,” Owen reports. “Apple’s solution is to mount the infrared emitter, cameras, and any other equipment to the sides of the device, rather than directly in front of the eyes. These components are aimed in front of a ‘hot mirror,’ a type of dielectric mirror that can reflect infrared light while allowing visible light to pass through, which is located with other optical lenses between the eyes and the display panel. By using a hot mirror, the infrared emitter can bounce light into the user’s eye. The IR light is reflected back from the user’s eyes onto the hot mirror, which then returns to the eye-tracking camera.”

“Mounting the tracking hardware to the side or below the gaze of the user and using hot mirrors means the user’s view of the display panel is not obscured by the components,” Owen reports. “The patent application is the latest in a number of similar filings relating to the field of AR and VR for Apple…”

Read more, and see APple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Someday, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll look back at holding up slabs of metal and glass to access AR as unbelievably quaint. — MacDailyNews, July 28, 2017

Apple prepping Micro-LED displays for Apple Watch and Smartglasses for 2019, sources say – April 3, 2018
Apple CEO Cook on the future of fashion, shopping, and AR smartglasses – October 11, 2017
Apple’s AR smartglasses – understanding the issues – August 29, 2017
Bernstein: Apple’s ‘smartglasses’ opportunity ‘could be enormous’ – August 25, 2017
Apple working on several prototypes of AR glasses – August 4, 2017
Apple’s next big move: Augmented reality – August 3, 2017
Apple’s rumored new glasses will be an even bigger deal than the iPhone – July 28, 2017
Apple smart glasses are inevitable – July 28, 2017


  1. Why couldn’t Tim and company report their numbers this week? Why wait until May 01. You would think that he would want to defend his company from the onslaught of negative press over the past 2 weeks. Amazon should embarrass Tom Cook. They have a real services stream. Tim has wasted a vast fortune on buybacks instead of investing into services HomeKit will be run over by google and amazon next. My fear is Tim has talked a big game on AR but nothing to show. This will likely be another Apple TV which was years ahead of the competition when it came out, Apple routers were the best , Siri was 4 and 5 years ahead of the competition only to get left in the dust. Apple gets slammed by the analysis because the company has so much potential that is getting squandered.

  2. While Apple follows the crowd on eye tracking, Microsoft uses it for good, for accessibility without the need for another overpriced, underwhelming product. Apple stumbles, while Microsoft learns.

    Devin Prater Assistive Technology Instructor certified by World Services for the Blind JAWS certified


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