Apple patent paints a future of AR glasses and gesture controls

Apple is preparing a big push into augmented reality – that much is certain after the company revealed its ARKit plans at this year's WWDC developer conference. But could there be a big focus on AR gaming?

A newly uncovered patent seems to suggest so. Patently Apple have found a patent application that describes a 3D camera system intended for augmented reality use.

Developed by Apple's Israeli PrimseSense team, it looks to use a light beam for optical 3D mapping and depth sensing. 

"The orders of diffraction are reflected from a surface at multiple points, the reflected light from each of the multiple points is detected, and the reflected light is used to compute a depth map of the surface," says the Apple patent, which shows a prism-shaped optical deflector used to calculate the depth and distance.

AR gestures

The camera system looks destined to allow for Minority Report-style hand gestures. With the depth-sensing camera potentially strapped to the front of a pair of Apple AR glasses, it would allow for interactions with a hovering holographic interface, just by moving your hands.

It indeed seems Apple is specifically considering the patent in relation in to AR gaming, too. The patent states that: 

"Such depth mapping may be applied to interactive video games. For example, a subject may interact with a game by making various gestures with his hand, and depth mapping may be used to identify the gestures."

With a number of patent filings now noted, and with ARKit's unveiling letting developers get to grips with Apple's AR toolkit, the evidence towards a pair of Apple AR glasses seems to be mounting up.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.