Apple patent filing suggests facial tracking and biometric authentication with AR headset

Apple has filed a patent application for an augmented reality or virtual reality headset with sensors for facial expression recognition, eye movement tracking, hand gesture recognition, and possibly biometric user authentication, as spotted recently by Variety.

The patent for “Display System Having Sensors,” published recently by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), describes a head-mounted display (HMD) showing 3D AR images and tracking both that environment and the user with a range of sensors.

Apple already has facial tracking technology as part of its Animoji animation software, Variety notes, but the patent could be a way to produce more realistic user facial expressions in mixed reality. While Animoji takes user data from the iPhone’s front-facing camera, the same cannot be done from an AR/VR headset.

Separate sensors could capture mouth and jaw, eyebrow and forehead, and eye movements, with the latter also possibly performing biometric iris authentication, according to the patent claims.

Variety notes that well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted Apple will begin manufacturing its headset by the fourth quarter of this year ahead of a public introduction in 2020.

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