Apple has filed a patent for "enhanced image display in head-mounted displays" with the World Intellectual Property Organization. While head mounted displays are not new, the Apple patent specifically focuses on a wider field of view and a more natural viewing situation.
The application, with a publication date of April 17, 2008, recaps head-mounted display technology and typical uses in medicine, the military, fire fighters and scientific visualization. In section , the application explains Appleis embodiment:
"This invention relates to processing and displaying images in a head-mounted display. According to one embodiment, the invention provides methods and apparatus for providing a wider field of view and creating a more natural viewing situation for a user of a head mounted display, which results in improved comfort and usability for head mounted displays."
The full patent document describes several different scenarios of operation, and generally seem to expand on the simple idea of a simple LCD viewer by utilizing additional memory, processing and advanced optical techniques: "The head mounted display can include a memory in which the data representing the source image is stored, the memory being operatively coupled to the processor. Each of the left and right displays can provide a horizontal field of view for the user that is greater than about 30 degrees. Each of the left and right displays can have an aspect ratio of 16/9."
The current level of technology in storage, memory, microprocessors and optics is likely able to support an additional level of sophistication in head-mounted displays, and Apple, being a company keenly interested in user interfaces, is evidently exploring how those technologies can be used to advance the state-of-the-art in business areas of interest to them, namely, medicine and scientific visualization.