Apple’s mixed reality glasses, Apple Glass, are said to have a lot of power. However, since strong hardware produces a lot of waste heat, a cooling system to protect the components could be necessary. A newly emerged patent shows what such a system could look like for Apple Glass.
As Apple Insider reported is recent a patent surfaced, in which several engineers present a possible cooling system for Apple Glass. According to the engineers, however, it is not that easy to develop a cooling method for mixed reality glasses. Because there are some challenges to overcome.
Display panels must be protected from heat
In the patent, the engineers explain that display panels such as OLED and uOLED panels are fundamentally functional at higher temperatures. However, too much heat causes the panels to deteriorate over time. It can even lead to “irreparable damage or system failures”. Since the panels in HMDs (Head-Mounted Displays) are difficult to replace and also quite expensive, you want to avoid damage from heat.
A problem with the cooling of the panels are the racks and frames. These are often made of lightweight materials such as plastic. Although this reduces the weight of the glasses and thus increases comfort when wearing them, these materials offer hardly any advantages in terms of heat regulation.
Heat sink: effective but difficult to integrate
Some manufacturers of HMDs solve this problem with heat sinks. Although these are tried and tested means of dissipating heat, their use creates new problems. Heat sinks were difficult to incorporate into the Apple Glass design, and they add weight to the glasses, according to engineers.
Apple’s solution: a cooling system integrated into the components of the glasses
As a solution to the cooling problem, Apple engineers propose “a display system that integrates thermal solutions into structural components”. Such a solution not only reduces the number of components, the complexity and the weight of the glasses. It also offers improved heat management, which lowers the operating temperature and increases the lifespan of the glasses.
Two of the most important components for dissipating heat are the chassis and the frame. Another option is the integration of a heat sink, but in such a way that it does not restrict the wearer of the glasses and is still effective. And there are also solutions with moving parts that are supposed to generate a draft.
How Apple will tie all of these elements together into an effective cooling system for the Apple Glass remains to be seen. According to insiders, the glasses should actually appear this year. In the meantime, however, the release seems to be postponed to spring 2023 to have.