Apple has been granted a patent for a projector that uses augmented reality technology, Patently Apple reports.
Apple’s augmented reality projector includes two key pieces of technology.
First of all, it has a camera that scans an environment like a room or an office. It builds a digital model of that space, and detects which surfaces it can project images onto. The second part of the AR projector would be, well, the projector, which changes what the user sees.
This isn’t Apple’s first patent for an augmented reality projector. Patently Apple points out that Apple already gained a patent for a similar projector in October.
The new patent filing from Apple shows a system that brings digital content such as eBooks and movies into the real world by projecting them onto surfaces. That could make people more likely to shell out for purchases if they appear to be physical.
It’s important to note the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality. Virtual reality (often abbreviated as “VR”) creates an entirely new world for people to explore. But augmented reality (abbreviated as “AR”) takes an existing environment and changes it.
Just because Apple filed a patent for an augmented reality projector doesn’t mean that it’s going to release one. The company files lots of patents, in part to protect its ideas, but also as a marketing tool. In the past the company has patented outlandish projects like a digital screen that can be rolled up like a newspaper.