Trademark 3840-480

Apple's VR glove patent licensed to track finger bone movement using IMU

On October 18, 2022, Apple was granted a patent application by the State Intellectual Property Office for an invention called "IMU-based glove", patent number: 201811018792 .

Figure 1 Patent abstract with diagram

Virtual reality (VR) technology can be used for many applications such as military training, educational learning and video games. VR technology can use one or more electronic devices to simulate a virtual environment and the physical presence of the user in that virtual environment. The dominant VR device is the headset, in which the user can use a VR headset to view the simulated virtual environment. As the user moves his/her head to view his/her surroundings, the display included in the headset can be updated to reflect the user's head movement. Apple's patent is for another electronic device, the VR glove, which can be worn on the user's hand and allows the user to touch, feel, and hold virtual objects in real time. VR gloves that can accurately detect the position and movement of a user's hands and fingers without blocking may be needed.

The core function of this VR glove is the ability to provide motion capture of individual fingers, force capture and provide tactile sensation. The IMU may be positioned adjacent to a finger (or thumb ) bone and may measure the inertial motion of said corresponding bone. The VR glove may include a magnetometer to determine heading, and the VR glove may also include one or more other electronic components, such as a plurality of electrodes, for capacitive touch and/or contact sensing between fingertips, haptic feedback in response to certain movements, etc.

Figure 2 Block diagram of VR glove example