Apple’s mixed reality headsets could include eye tracking

Illustration for the article titled Apple's Mixed Reality Headsets May Forfeit Drivers for Eye Tracking and Iris Recognition

Photo: Ryan Anson / AFP (fake images)

There is no shortage of speculation about Apple’s rumored AR headphones, but the latest one is the most sci-fi of all. According to trusted Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo, the headphones may be bypassing handheld controllers in favor of eye tracking and iris recognition.

For AppleInsiderKuo’s investor note on the subject says that the headphones will use a “specialized transmitter” to track eye movement and blinking. The way Kuo says the transmitter works is that it emits “wavelengths of invisible light”, which are then obtained reflected in your eyeball. Then a receiver collects that reflected light and changes in light patterns they are it is then analyzed to determine where it is looking.

That data could then be used to better personalize a user’s interaction within an AR environment. Another benefit is that it could allow people to control menus by blinking, or perhaps even learn more about an object by looking at it for a certain period of time. It could also allow for better processing power, as anything in your peripheral vision could have a reduced screen resolution.

Where this gets a little higher is iris recognition. While Kuo is not sure if it is an authentic feature, he says that “the hardware specifications suggest that the HMD [head mounted display] The eye-tracking system can support this feature. “Iris recognition is great as we’ve all seen spy movies where it’s used as a form of biometric identification. This could potentially enable an additional layer of security, ensuring no one else can use your device, because these devices will be do not be cheap. In a more everyday sense, it could also be used for services like Apple Pay.

One of the biggest problems with mixed reality and virtual reality is that there is no good way to interact with what you are watching. Business headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 and Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, as well as earlier consumer versions like Focals by North, relied on some iteration of manual controls or finger loops. They work, but calibration is a problem and the process can be complicated. Eye tracking, if done right, is a potential game changer as you don’t have to keep track of another accessory or memorize a set of controls.

This interface problem is well known among companies trying to create AR devices for consumers. Apple isn’t the only company looking for a novel solution. Facebook recently revealed that it is viewing wearables on the wrist which could allow you to control AR with your mind. It’s too early to say which of these two methods (or potentially one we haven’t heard of yet) will win out in the end. Earlier, Kuo pointed out that Apple’s mixed reality headsets are likely to arrive in 2022, with smart glasses in 2025. Facebook is expected to launch some kind of smart glasses this year, but futuristic methods are likely to bes described are for later on the line. That said, I’ll definitely take over the eye tracking. haptic socks any day.


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