Apple Patents Wearable Display Device, Olympus Fields Prototype

NEW YORK—Although Google has garnered a massive amount of media attention with its ProjectGlass, despite the fact the proprietary, augmented reality eyewear is still in development, the internet search giant may soon encounter competition in the rapidly emerging wearable display category.

Last week, Apple was granted a U.S. patent covering “peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays ” that involves see-through display technology that could be mounted in some type of smart eyeglass. The patent, which Apple first applied for six years ago, describes “methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing and using techniques for projecting a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus for a user.” Apple mentions viewing movies as one of the device’s potential applications. The company has not announced if or when it will commercialize the technology.

Additionally, Olympus Corp. announced last week that it has developed the MEG4.0, an “ultra-compact wearable display prototype that can be used in everyday life.” Unlike the proposed Apple device, the Bluetooth-equipped MEG4.0 can connect to smart phones. According to Olympus, it is compact, lightweight and is features a see-through display that does not obstruct the view of the outside world. In order to increase the utilization efficiency of light, the display panel achieves “high brightness with low power consumption,” enabling continuous use for long periods of time.