Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,823,971) for “dynamic seals for adjustable display devices.” It involves making the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality/mixed reality head-mounted display (HMD) more comfortable. The goal is to make such a device water and dust resistant.
High-resolution display devices, such as wearable HMDs, for example, include a variety of delicate internal components (e.g., display panels and lenses) that are often highly sensitive to water, moisture, particulate, debris, dust, etc. Apple says that this means there’s a need to house such components in a sealed internal compartment. However, during use, however, it’s often necessary to adjust the position of the display panel and/or the internal lens along one or more axes to adjust focus, correct distortion, alignment, or field-of-view issues, improve content accommodation, etc.
The seal(s) used to protect the internal components must allow for such movement without overly taxing the adjustment mechanism, which is typically small and lightweight given the limited interior space and intended use of the system and must be highly durable to resist fatigue that might otherwise occur over a large number of adjustment cycles. The seals must also allow for a sufficiently large range of motion depending, for example, upon the diopter range covered by the adjustment mechanism. Apple wants to make sure its Apple Glasses are durable, yet comfortable.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “In one aspect of the present disclosure, a display system (e.g., a wearable HMD) is described that includes an internal housing; a lens that is positioned within the internal housing; a display module including a display panel that is positioned within the internal housing to allow for relative movement between the lens and the display module to adjust focus of the display panel; and a seal that extends between the internal housing and the display module to define an enclosed interior space accommodating the lens and relative movement between the lens and the display module.”
When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive next year or 2022, depending on which rumor you believe. It will be a head-mounted display. Or may have a design like “normal” glasses. Or it may be available in both. The Apple Glasses may or may not have to be tethered to an iPhone to work. Other rumors say that Apple Glasses could have a custom-build Apple chip and a dedicated operating system dubbed “rOS” for “reality operating system.”