LG Electronics has won a new patent from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that appears to describe a head-mounted display with a camera and new display adjustment method. More directly, the patent – published under WIPO publication number WO/2018/056473 on March 29 – seems to allow both the display and focal lenses to be adjusted via external controls. In this case, that display is described as a “mobile terminal.” The patent also describes many variations of mobile terminals, indicating that the newly uncovered contraption is intended to be used with a smartphone a la Google Cardboard. However, whether or not that’s the case is not immediately clear from the patent or its images. There do appear to be slots and holes on the front side of the unit which could be used to allow a handset’s camera to be used through the device. There’s also a camera on the device itself.
Another major focus of the patent involves the method by which the display’s focal point is adjusted. This would not, after all, be the first VR headset to come with that particular feature. Instead, a substantial percentage of the descriptions involve explaining how the adjustment method has been designed to prevent “foreign objects” from entering into the unit. A series of corkscrew shafts accomplish the adjustments themselves and there’s a sealing material fixed between the moving parts. That is contracted or expanded as the display is adjusted via a knob at the top of the unit.
The purpose of the invention is to answer to the challenges associated with creating a VR unit that works for everybody since nobody’s eyes work quite the same way. As mentioned above, it isn’t really clear whether this is intended to be used with a smartphone acting as the display. If it is, then the ability to move the display around using external knobs would be a big improvement. Most current virtual reality headsets that utilize an Android device as their display center around the movement of lenses to adjust the focal point and viewing space. This appears to allow both lenses and the device itself to be moved via external controls rather than having to open the display unit up and move things around manually. If it can do that without allowing dust or other particulates to fall onto the display, it should allow for a much better VR experience overall.