In an effort to capitalize on this new trend and compete with Google's recently released similar device, Apple announced this week that it was awarded a patent for its own head-mounted display device. Patent number 8,212,859 covers technology that projects an image in front of the viewer's eyes and is designed to enhance a user's viewing experience. The user then has an augmented view of reality with a see-through image imposed on top of the real-world image. According to the patent description, Apple's device could have several small CRT, LCD or OLED displays embedded in a wearable headset incorporated into a helmet, pair of glasses, or a visor.
To capture an even larger market share for head-mounted display devices, Apple is planning on adding sophisticated app development, a possible second display, processor memory and advanced user interfaces. Originally filed back in 2006, the patent for the new technology could also possibly be utilized by heath-care professionals in day-to-day procedures. Developers claim that surgeons could use the product to display information while they operate, such as MRI imaging, CAT scans or other radiographic data. Additionally, Apple anticipates potential use for military, police and firefighters, who could use the new product to display tactical information. The headset could provide an invaluable tool for viewing maps and thermal imaging information, as well as for traditional uses like gaming or internet entertainment applications.
Much like the Apple device, Google recently developed Google Glass, a highly anticipated product utilizing computerized glasses technology. The Android-based glasses have a GPS sensor, cameras, speakers, a microphone and a processor memory. However, unlike the new Apple product, the Google Glass sits slightly above the viewer's eyes, so as to not interfere with vision. Gamers and technology experts anxiously await the introduction of both products into stores and will likely provide multiple reviews within the coming months. Samples of the products are set to be released in 2013 with mass production scheduled for 2014.