Apple’s upcoming VR headset could use the air conditioner for reducing heat issues. Recently, inventors Phil Mr. Hobson and Sivesh Selvakumar were granted a patent for methods of keeping Apple VR head-mounted display (HMD) wearers comfortable for extended periods. Now they, along with three other inventors, have filed a patent application to incorporate a cooling system into the device.
The patent application says “HMD is an attractive technology for providing an immersive user experience, As with other electronic devices, HMD can employ a cooling system based on the circulation of air to maintain electronic components at desirable operating temperatures.”
We’re all used to our body getting hot after using electronics after a certain amount of time. And when it comes to HMD, it’s right next to our nose. And for sure it can give serious health problems in future.
Apple says “The cooling system can also be used to cool the user’s face from heat build-up inside the head-mounted device,” It looks easy while addressing the issue, but it’s really hard to solve such problems in real life. Further, Apple adds “efficient operation without unduly detracting from the user experience is a challenging task for head-mounted devices.”
“The shape of the head-mounted device or layout of internal components can lead to a tortuous flow path for the cooling system,” says Apple. “The proximity of the airflow path to the user’s head can create undesired effects that detract from the user experience, such as excessive noise that interferes with the audio of the device in a noticeable manner.” After all, there’s no point in owning a device that gives health issues along with cool features.
“Some head-mounted devices may employ movable components that can interrupt the airflow path, such as adjustable optics that can be moved to account for a given user’s interpupillary distance (IPD),” continue the patent application. “This adjustability can, in turn, make it difficult to design a cooling system in a given device that is suitable for different users.” So our heads are in an awkward shape, and VR devices need parts that can move. Together, these two elements impede regular or natural cooling.
What Apple claims to do is taking heat from the thermal cooling practices in computers, and adding air deflectors as typically found in air conditioning systems.
“For example, the air deflector can be positioned between a surface of an internal component and an incoming stream of air, at a reduced angle relative to the surface of the internal component so as to create smooth or more laminar flow over or across the component,” says Apple. What’s more, these deflectors “can include an integrated heat sink,” or dissipate heat “via a thermally conductive interface material.”
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