According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s widely rumored augmented reality headset will come with eye-tracking hardware to register user input eliminating the need for handheld controllers.
Kuo stated that the headset will utilize a specialized transmitter and receiver to detect eye movements, blinks, and other physical data. Eye-tracking is possibly going to dominate the human-machine interface technology development space for AR and VR wearables.
“Currently, users primarily operate the HMD (most of which are VR devices) using handheld controllers,” Kuo said. “The biggest challenge with this type of operation is that it does not provide a smooth user experience. We believe that if the HMD uses an eye-tracking system, there will be several advantages.”
Theoretically, Apple’s system is designed to collect eye movement data to determine user interactions in a simulated AR environment. By scanning a display of the user’s external environment, the images and onscreen content can be made to move in sync with a user’s eyes.
It also opens up a whole lot of doors for intuitive UI functions. For example, the users can blink repeatedly to activate menus or access information about an object by just staring at it.
Kuo also believes that Apple might bring in some form of iris recognition for biometric identification to the device too. This would have numerous applications such as user authentication for seamless Apple Pay transactions.
“We are still unsure if the Apple HMD can support iris recognition, but the hardware specifications suggest that the HMD’s eye-tracking system can support this function,” he said.
It was previously speculated that Apple’s first AR/MR headset is going to hit the market in 2022 for an estimated $1,000. It has also been predicted that this device will be followed by “Apple Glass” in 2025 and, potentially, contact lenses beyond 2030.
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