How dumb are you willing to look? Apple patents mobile 3D goggles

Apple’s newly granted patent for a pair of goggles designed for watching video from iDevices raises the question: How dumb are you willing to look for a quality mobile video experience?

Detailed specs of the, well, specs were revealed by CNET today, showing what essentially looks like a pair of ski goggles designed to be hardwired into an iPhone or iPad.

Referred to as a “Head-mounted display” in the official form filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, the patent describes the goggles in short detail. “The goggle system may include … optical components for generating the media display, and a lens on which the generated media displayed is provided to the user.” The description also details design aspects that would allow the goggles to be adjusted for the user’s eye alignment, possible prescription adjustment for “the user’s eyesight limitations,” and even optical components for 3D display. The patent is extremely similar to a patent granted in December of 2013, and was reportedly under development as far back as 1997.

While it’s easy to scoff at the idea of throwing on a pair of clunky goggles to watch a Youtube video on the commute to work, the latter point about 3D display makes a lot more sense for implementation, both for gaming, as well as broader virtual reality applications. The long-awaited era of virtual reality that has been teased for decades as just over the horizon has made big waves  lately thanks to large strides made by the startup Oculus’ Rift, as well as cries of outrage, disappointment, and confusion when the company was recently purchased by Facebook for a reported $2 billion.

Recent revelations of Sony’s own pair of VR goggles for its Playstation ecosystem called Project Morpheus have only bolstered anticipation for the technology, and as Apple has lost market share with dwindling iPhone sales growth as of late, investors are looking desperately for the visionary company’s next big thing. Could a mobile pair of VR goggles fit the bill?

While Apple has thrown a number of designs at the wall outlining a video headset display, no evidence that the company has any tangible design in the works has seen the light of day – yet. We’ll have to wait and see if Apple will enter into the burgeoning world of VR display anytime soon, or indeed, whether anything like the ski-goggle design will make its way off the drawing board.

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