Apple invents eye detection system that ensures future smart glasses and headsets prevent screen burns and more

Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office has released an Apple patent application that relates to a functionality primarily designed for a future mixed reality headset or AR glasses that will prevent display burns and more.


Eye activity-based display operation

Apple’s patent application relates to an eye-monitoring system built into the helmet frame support system designed to detect eye jerks and blinking, then make necessary adjustments to eye screens in real time without the user even know that this is happening in the background.

The jerks are rapid, jerky and mainly ballistic eye rotations. Humans perform several jerky eye movements per second to use this highest resolution part of the retina to look at the object of interest.

During jerks and blinks, a user’s visual sensitivity is temporarily suppressed. The control circuits in the headset can take advantage of the momentary suppression of the user’s visual sensitivity to make adjustments to the operation of the screen.

For example, the control circuit may coordinate the operation of the display with periods of suppressed visual sensitivity that are associated with jerks and blinking to reduce power consumption and / or to effect potentially invasive image changes. By making adjustments during periods of suppressed visual sensitivity, these adjustments can be hidden from the helmet user.

The electronic device control circuits can coordinate the operation of the display with periods of suppressed visual sensitivity associated with jerks and blinking. By making adjustments to display circuits and image content during periods of suppressed visual sensitivity, potentially visually annoying changes to the images displayed can be hidden from a user of the electronic device. Adjustments to display operation may help avoid or reduce burn effects, can help reduce power consumption and may otherwise improve device performance.

The Apple FIG patent. 2 below is a top view of an illustrative eye monitoring system; Fig. 5 is a flow diagram of the illustrative operations involved in the use of an electronic device with a display and eye monitoring system.

Following the Apple FIG patent. 2 above, we see a diagram showing how the eye monitoring system (# 16) can collect information from a user’s eye (# 30). The system can, if desired, include components of the eye-tracking system such as light emitting diodes, lasers or other light sources, image sensors, photodetectors and / or other tracking devices. detection of light and / or other equipment to monitor eye movements and flashes.

Eye tracking in the system can be done by estimating the reflection of an infrared beam from the surface of the cornea (“corneal reflection”). The system can be a video-based eye tracker that uses the center of the pupil (without any reflection from the eye) to estimate the gaze.

As with most patents, Apple notes that the invention is not limited to only glasses but could also be used in future systems such as a head-up display based on a vehicle (Project Titan), Macs, a television. and more.

To further explore the details of this invention, see patent application number 20200019238 officially titled “Electronic Devices with Eye Activity-Based Display Operation”, which was published today and originally filed in June 2019.

Apple inventors

Andrew Watson: Chief Vision Scientist

Mehmet N. Ağaoğlu: Vision scientist / Display engineer