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Apple could enable 3D air gestures on its future mixed reality headsets

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Apple has been granted a new patent relating to finger sensors that will be utilized for its mixed reality headsets. Uncovered by Patently Apple, the filing details of a custom device in different that extends to the fingers of the user. The potential of such a device could enable 3D air gestures and wireless controls, which are far more dramatic compared to the current controllers of Meta's Oculus Quest.

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TL:DR

  • Apple's future AR/VR headset could use finger sensors.
  • The type of finger-mounted device could allow air gestures and mimic real-life sensations.
  • It's unsure if when we could see the technology on an actual device.

Apple's first mixed reality headset is expected to arrive next year, but details surrounding the device are limited. Seemingly, the new patent rewarded to the company suggests what we could see from the future headsets of Apple, including an advanced hand worn device.

It mentioned that the device will be composed of several finger units and a main circuitry. The latter could come in a compact module, but will be attached on the back of the hand. It could also be in the form of a wristband or part of a camera-activated glove. As for the finger-mounted device, each unit will use an array of sensors such as force and optic units. Moreover, Apple may also design the device in the shape of a wearable ring.

Apple's finger sensor and hand controller for AR VR headset
Apple's advanced finger-mounted sensor could enable air gestures and extended haptics / © Patently Apple

Although more complex than a regular controller, the advantages of this finger-mounted device or component are significant. There are countless ways Apple can take advantage of its technology. For instance, it could enable multidimensional air gestures when controlling the content of the mixed reality headset. It is also possible to imitate sensations in different scenarios through the integrated haptic sensors, eventually making it a more immersive experience.

It is unclear if or when we could use the technology on an actual Apple device. But it is possible that the Cupertino giant may give hints about the advanced finger-mounted controller once its first MR headset is announced. Moreover, the approved patent does not guarantee the technology could evolve into an actual unit.

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