Apple Patent | Computer Systems With Finger Devices For Sampling Object Attributes

Patent: Computer Systems With Finger Devices For Sampling Object Attributes

Publication Number: 20200174583

Publication Date: 20200604

Applicants: Apple

Abstract

A system may include electronic devices. The electronic devices may include finger devices configured to be worn on fingers of users and may include other electronic devices. The electronic devices may include sensors. A sensor may measure information on real-world-object physical attributes such as surface contours and textures associated with real-world objects. The measured physical attributes may be used to recreate a sampled physical object for a user in a computer-generated reality environment. During presentation of computer-generated content, visual content, audio content, haptic content, and/or other content may be presented that is based on measured visual, audio, haptic, and/or other physical attributes of a real-world object. Content may be presented using a head-mounted device, haptic devices and other output devices in finger devices, and/or other output devices.

[0001] This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application No. 62/772,957, filed Nov. 29, 2018, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

FIELD

[0002] This relates generally to electronic systems, and, more particularly, to systems with electronic devices such as finger-mounted electronic devices.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Electronic devices such as computers can be controlled using computer mice and other input accessories. In computer-generated reality systems, force-feedback gloves can be used to control virtual objects. Cellular telephones may have touch screen displays and vibrators that are used to create haptic feedback in response to touch input.

[0004] Devices such as these may not be convenient for a user, may be cumbersome or uncomfortable, or may provide unrealistic output.

SUMMARY

[0005] A system may include electronic devices. The electronic devices may include finger devices configured to be worn on fingers of users and may include head mounted devices and other electronic devices. The electronic devices may include sensors. As a user interacts with a real-world object in the environment surrounding the user, one or more sensors may be sued to measure information on real-world-object physical attributes associated with the real-world object. The physical attributes that are measured may include attributes such as a surface contour, a texture, an object color or other visual attribute, a temperature, acoustic attributes, force-versus-distance characteristics, weight, and/or other physical attributes.

[0006] The measured physical attributes may be used to recreate the physical behavior of a portion of a sampled physical object for a user. For example, a sampled texture may be overlaid on a part of an object being presented in a computer-generated reality environment. During presentation of computer-generated content, visual content, audio content, haptic content, and/or other content may be presented that includes measured visual attributes, audio attributes, haptic attributes, and/or other sampled physical attributes of a real-world object. Content may be presented using a head-mounted device, haptic devices and other output devices in finger devices, and/or other output devices in the electronic devices.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an illustrative system with electronic devices for making measurements on objects in a user’s environment and in providing a user with output as a user interacts with virtual and real-world objects in accordance with an embodiment.

[0008] FIG. 2 is a top view of an illustrative finger of a user on which a finger device has been placed in accordance with an embodiment.

[0009] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative finger device on the finger of a user in accordance with an embodiment.

[0010] FIG. 4 is a top view of an illustrative head-mounted device having support structures configured to support a display and sensors such as a forward facing camera and gaze tracker in accordance with an embodiment.

[0011] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an illustrative real-world object with which a user is interacting while gathering measurements and/or receiving output using a finger device in accordance with an embodiment.

[0012] FIGS. 6, 7, 8, and 9 are diagrams showing how illustrative finger devices may be used in gathering measurements on real-world objects in accordance with an embodiment.

[0013] FIG. 10 is a diagram of a real-world object with a movable mechanism such as a button that is being measured using an illustrative finger device in accordance with an embodiment.

[0014] FIGS. 11 and 12 are graphs of illustrative measured attributes associated with the movable mechanism of FIG. 10 in accordance with an embodiment.

[0015] FIGS. 13, 14, and 15 are graphs showing how real-world-object attributes may be measured on a real world object and cut-and-pasted or otherwise incorporated into an environment with real and virtual content in accordance with an embodiment.

[0016] FIG. 16 is a flow chart of illustrative operations associated with operating a system with electronic devices in accordance with an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0017] Electronic devices may be used to gather user input and to provide a user with output. For example, an electronic device may capture information on the physical attributes of real-world objects in an environment surrounding a user. Position sensors such as inertial measurement units and other sensors that can detect motion and location, force sensors, image sensors, and other sensors may be used in gathering measurements of real-world object physical attributes as a user interacts with the physical world. Samples of textures, visual patterns, measured objects shapes, and other real-world information can be gathered and stored. When using playback equipment such as a finger-mounted device, head-mounted device, and/or other electronic equipment, sampled real-world attributes can be provided to a user. Sampled real-world-object attributes may, for example, be provided to a user using haptic output devices, audio and visual output devices, and/or other output devices while a user interacts with real-world and computer-generated content.

[0018] An electronic system that allows a user to gather measurements of real-world-object physical attributes and that provides sampled attributes to a user may include electronic devices such as cellular telephones and computers. If desired, the electronic system may include wearable electronic devices that are configured to be mounted on the body of a user. For example, the electronic system may include devices that that are configured to be worn on one or more of a user’s fingers. These devices, which may sometimes be referred to as finger devices or finger-mounted devices, may be used to gather input and supply output. A finger device may, as an example, include sensors that measure object surface shape and responses to applied pressure. The visual appearance and other physical attributes of real-world objects can also be measured using sensor circuitry in a finger device.

[0019] Wearable electronic devices such as head-mounted devices may also be used in measuring physical attributes of real-world objects. Sampled real-world object physical attributes can be played back to a user using wearable electronic devices as a user interacts with real and/or virtual objects. For example, a sampled real-world texture may be recreated using a haptic output component in a finger device as a user touches a real world object. Visual content such as sampled real-world visible attributes can also be provided to the user. For example, a display in a head-mounted device may be used to overlay a previously sampled surface appearance of a real-world object onto a different real-world object. Haptic output from a finger device or other equipment and visual output from a head-mounted device may, if desired, be provided to a user simultaneously and in coordination with each other as a user is interacting with real-world and virtual content.

[0020] If desired, other input may be gathered using one or more wearable electronic devices or other electronic devices and other output may be provided to a user while the user is using the electronic system. The use of a finger device to gather input and to provide corresponding haptic output and the use of a head-mounted display to display visual content for a user is illustrative.

[0021] During sampling a user may measure real-world-object physical attributes using one or more finger devices, head-mounted devices, and/or other electronic devices. These devices may also gather user input during operation of the system. During playback operations, an electrical system may provide the user with computer-generated content (sometimes referred to as virtual content) based on the sampled real-world object physical attributes and/or may provide the user with other computer-generated content. User input may be used in moving virtual objects and otherwise controlling system operations. If desired, the user may receive output from the electrical system while interacting with real-world objects. For example, haptic output corresponding to a previously sampled real-world object texture may be provided to a user while the user is touching a real-world object. In this way, a computer-generated version of a sampled real-world texture may be overlaid on a texture on a real-world surface and/or may replace a real-world texture associated with a real-world object that a user is touching. In some configurations, haptic output and other output may be supplied while a user’s fingers are moving through the air without contacting any real-world objects.

[0022] Haptic output, visual output, audio output, and/or other output (e.g., heat, etc.) may be supplied by one or more devices in the electronic system. One or more devices may also be used in gathering user input. In some configurations, a user may use finger devices when using the electronic system to produce a computer-generated reality environment. This system may include one or more electronic devices that produce visual and audio output such as head-mounted equipment. Head-mounted devices may include glasses, goggles, a helmet, or other devices with displays and, if desired, speakers. During operation, finger devices may gather user input such as information on interactions between the finger device(s) and the surrounding environment (e.g., interactions between a user’s fingers and the environment, including finger motions and other interactions associated with virtual content displayed for a user). The user input may be used in controlling visual output on the display. Corresponding haptic output may be provided during operation. This haptic output may include previously sampled real-world object physical attributes such as object shape, texture, response to pressure, etc. and may be provided to the user’s fingers using the finger devices. Haptic output may be used, for example, to provide the fingers of a user with a desired texture sensation as a user is touching a real object or as a user is touching a virtual object. Haptic output can also be used to create detents and other haptic effects, to create force feedback that makes virtual objects that are hovering in space appear real to the touch.

[0023] Finger devices can be worn on any or all of a user’s fingers (e.g., the index finger, the index finger and thumb, three of a user’s fingers on one of the user’s hands, some or all fingers on both hands, etc.). To enhance the sensitivity of a user’s touch as the user interacts with surrounding objects, finger devices may have inverted U shapes or other configurations that allow the finger devices to be worn over the top and sides of a user’s finger tips while leaving the user’s finger pads exposed. This allows a user to touch objects with the finger pad portions of the user’s fingers during use. If desired, finger devices may be worn over knuckles on a user’s finger, between knuckles, and/or on other portions of a user’s finger. The use of finger devices on a user’s finger tips is sometimes described herein as an example.

[0024] Users can use the finger devices to interact with any suitable electronic equipment. For example, a user may use one or more finger devices to interact with an electronic system that supplies a computer-generated-reality environment. This equipment may include a head-mounted device with a display and, if desired, an associated host system such as a computer and/or cloud computing equipment that is accessed by the head-mounted display and/or cloud computing equipment that is accessed using the host system. Computer-generated-reality equipment may also include devices such as a tablet computer, cellular telephone, watch, ear buds, stylus, or other accessory, and/or other electronic equipment. In some systems, finger devices may be augmented or replaced by other electronic devices such as touch and/or force sensitive haptic-output gloves (sometimes referred to as computer-generated reality controller gloves), joysticks, touch pads, styluses, keyboards, computer mice, and/or other input-output devices.

[0025] FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an illustrative system of the type that may include one or more finger devices and/or other input-output devices for sampling real-world object physical attributes. As shown in FIG. 1, system 8 may include electronic device(s) such as finger device(s) 10 and other electronic device(s) 24. Each finger device 10 may be worn on a finger of a user’s hand. Additional electronic devices in system 8 such as devices 24 may include devices such as a laptop computer, a computer monitor containing an embedded computer, a tablet computer, a desktop computer (e.g., a display on a stand with an integrated computer processor and other computer circuitry), a cellular telephone, a media player, or other handheld or portable electronic device, a smaller device such as a wristwatch device, a pendant device, a headphone or earpiece device, a head-mounted device such as glasses, goggles, a helmet, or other equipment worn on a user’s head, or other wearable or miniature device, a television, a computer display that does not contain an embedded computer, a gaming device, a remote control, a navigation device, an embedded system such as a system in which equipment is mounted in a kiosk, in an automobile, airplane, or other vehicle, a removable external case for electronic equipment, a strap, a wrist band or head band, a removable cover for a device, a case or bag that has straps or that has other structures to receive and carry electronic equipment and other items, a necklace or arm band, a wallet, sleeve, pocket, or other structure into which electronic equipment or other items may be inserted, part of a chair, sofa, or other seating (e.g., cushions or other seating structures), part of an item of clothing or other wearable item (e.g., a hat, belt, wrist band, headband, sock, glove, shirt, pants, etc.), a mouse, trackpad, stylus, ear buds, or other accessories, or equipment that implements the functionality of two or more of these devices.

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