Vision Pro Could Get Handheld Controllers, Hints Apple Patent

Apple Vision Pro

One of the Apple Vision Pro’s coolest features is that it can track hand movements, but its missing piece is a physical controller. That could change in the future though, as one recent Apple patent reveals that the firm could be considering accessories for Vision Pro, like a physical controller, and charging docks for additional peripherals.

The patent is for Handheld Controllers with Charging and Storage Systems and was published today, February 29. In the patent, Apple discusses many power sources for a handheld controller for an electronic device and how magnets could hold it into place on a power source.

Building on what we’ve already seen with the Developer Strap, which attaches magnetically to the Vision Pro, this suggests Apple might want a controller that can attach to the headset for charging itself. Diagrams in the patent also showcase a possible charging dock to house the controller and a charging stick. There’s even a charging case, too, which looks pretty similar to Apple’s AirPods Pro case.

“A system may include an electronic device such as a head-mounted device and a handheld controller for controlling the electronic device. The handheld controller may have power-receiving circuitry configured to receive power from a power source,” explains the authors of the patent.

Interestingly, Apple goes as far in this patent to show an illustration of what such a controller can look like. As seen below, it resembles an Apple pencil. Other points of the patent mention how the controller and any accessories could “include an inertial measurement unit with an accelerometer for gathering information on controller motions.” The patent also details how you can use the controller with “swiping motions, waving motions, writing movements, drawing movements, shaking motions, rotations, etc.” Haptic output, an optical sensor, buttons, knobs, wheels, and speakers, are other aspects mentioned in the patent for the controller.

“Tracking features such as active or passive visual markers that can be tracked with an optical sensor in an external electronic device, may include input devices such as touch sensors, force sensors, buttons, knobs, wheels,” remarks the patent authors.

As cool as the patent is, it is important to understand that patents don’t always end up becoming actual products. Apple is rather just protecting the ideas its researchers are playing with. This isn’t the first interesting patent we saw from Apple this week, either. Apple was also playing with the idea of how its future hardware could be unified for a smarter home.

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