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Apple has been working on a VR headset for many years now, but it appears the company is waiting until either the market matures or it develops a technology which can revolutionise it.
A series of new patents for a VR headset applied for by Apple gives us glance into what the company may be working on, and the most interesting is one not seen in any other headset.
In the early days of VR headsets were located in space by using beacons in fixed positions, which allowed PCs to compute the position of headsets.
This has been superseded by SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) which uses multiple low-resolution cameras to map the environment of the user and also to locate the user in it.
Now Apple has patented a new approach which replaces the SLAM cameras with ultrasound transmitters and receivers.
The system would first send out a pulse in a wide-field mode to detect objects in range then use a series of secondary pulses to accurately detect and map objects.
The technology has the advantage of not being fooled my mirrors or other highly reflective surfaces and working over larger ranges, and can, of course, be combined with a camera-based system also.
The patent was filed in September 2019 and it is not clear if the improvement is compelling enough to tempt Apple to enter the rather tepid VR market, but what is clear is that the company is still working on the problem.