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Apple invented an awesome AR projector

by Jacob Kleinman | December 1, 2015December 1, 2015 11:36 am PST

There’s no denying that Apple is interested in augmented reality. The company has been spotted buying up smaller AR firms and poaching engineers from its rivals. Now a new patent may reveal what the Cupertino company is secretly working on.

Apple’s concept for an “Adaptive Projector” was submitted back in 2012 and approved on Tuesday. It’s a pretty unique take on augmented reality, which would work by projecting digital images into the real world. By comparison, Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google-backed Magic Leap both put the image right in front of your eyes, tricking you into thinking there’s a 3D object out in front of you.

The Adaptive Projector accomplishes this with a camera that can scan the room to create a 3D map and track your eye movement. Using that information, it can decide which surfaces to project to. One chart included in the patent details how the projector would be able to display images right on your hands, but would know to avoid other body parts.

Images included with the filing show the projector as either a headset or a stationary object. It also suggests the device could be used to deliver a heightened e-book experience where the reader sees a physical book materialize in their hands. That’s some next level stuff right there.

Of course this is just a patent, and an old one at that. Still, it seems pretty clear that Apple is very interested in creating something AR-related.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...