Apple smartglasses could give users ‘night vision’

With a combination of radar and LiDAR, Apple smartglasses could provide users with “night vision” when light levels are too low for the human eye.

"Apple Glasses" designed by Martin Hajek for iDrop News
“Apple Glasses” concept designed by Martin Hajek for iDrop News

William Gallagher for AppelInsider:

We’ve been slowly learning what Apple plans for the LiDAR sensor in devices such as the iPhone 12 Pro, which uses it to help with autofocus. That focusing assistance, though, is particularly useful in low-light environments — and Apple has designs on exploiting that ability to help “Apple Glass” wearers.

“Head-Mounted Display With Low Light Operation,” is a newly-revealed patent application, which describes multiple ways of sensing the environment around the wearer of a head-mounted display (HMD). “In other examples, the depth sensor may be a radar detection and ranging sensor (RADAR) or a light detection and ranging sensor (LIDAR),” says Apple. “It should be noted that one or multiple types of depth sensors may be utilized, for example, incorporating one or more of a structured light sensor, a time-of-flight camera, a RADAR sensor, and/or a LIDAR sensor.”

Apple’s HMD could also use “ultrasonic sound waves,” but regardless of what is produced by the headset, the patent application is all about accurate measurement of surroundings — and relaying that information to the wearer.

MacDailyNews Take: Night vision, of course, would be yet another extremely useful feature! So when will the Apple smartglasses be unveiled: 2021 or 2022?

In November 2019, a report from The Information claimed Apple hosted a presentation in October which filled the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater, briefing staff on its augmented reality plans.

These plans include the launch of an AR headset in 2022, followed by a pair of sleeker AR glasses a year later, in 2023. This contradicts the expectations of the often-accurate Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has repeatedly said Apple’s first AR device will arrive in 2020. As 2019 draws to a close, we are inclined to believe the 2022-2023 timeline feels more realistic.

The report also claims the headsets will have a comfortable fit, and Apple will start speaking to developers about building software for the AR headset in 2021.


  1. Apple has the right approach. Don’t put a camera on the glasses and make other people uneasy about being recorded. Instead, enhance the human body’s built-in camera, the eyes. With AR (not VR). And with night vision. Make seeing better.

    I don’t think Apple should make the glasses a replacement for looking at a screen. Enhance vision, don’t distract from vision.

  2. Give it a rest, the tech is years away, glasses will not be usable to the public until they look and wear like everyday glasses, in short all the tech inside the device is 10-20 times smaller than what is possible today.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.