Apple won a patent for smart footwear designed to deliver haptic feedback on your feet while using its VR gaming software on the rumoured Apple VR headset. Or should we say, softwear.
Noted as a VR gaming accessory, the patent offers a glimpse of how the smart footwear component would work and how it could look, with the figure suggesting we could be getting a pricey pair of socks with an Apple logo to go along with its VR headset.
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As seen on Patently Apple, Apple specifically suggests the device would be for VR gaming software, giving users different sensations of various surfaces on their feet, such as slipping on tiles or feeling a surface with irregularities. The report also suggests the smart footwear would offer the sensation of feeling cold or hot, like standing on cold tiles or hot sand (although, we're not sure if that's very safe...).
To make the haptic output work, the smart footwear would use electromagnets placed on foot platforms where users would stand. The platform would have haptic output components that would signal to the electromagnets in the socks, letting users think they are walking, standing or sliding on different surfaces. We don't know about you, but this screams motion sickness.
Apple's VR headset is rumoured to release as soon as 2022, with the company trying to tap into the VR market after its surge in popularity thanks to the Oculus Quest 2. Bringing haptic feedback to a VR device is sure to stir up hype after the PS5's DualSense controller impressed with its feel of next-gen tech.
Of course, just because Apple won the patent doesn't mean we will see it come to market. However, it could suggest that there will be some form of haptic feedback coming to Apple's VR headset, or even its AR glasses.
Whatever the case, the notion of Apple socks will always pique our interest. Just think of the VR fitness possibilities.
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Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.