Much is said about the technologies of the future augmented and virtual reality headset from Apple, but little about its interaction with the rest of the devices. With its vision of the ecosystem, we can expect, for example, significant integration with the AirPods, precisely what a recent patent is talking about.

Many supporting technologies for Apple Glass

As collected in Patently Apple, Apple is exploring the use of optical audio transmission to communicate the AirPods with the glasses. It’s true that it attracts attention, but it’s also true that the amount of data that can travel in this way opens the door to bandwidths unknown to current protocols.

“A system that includes an audio source device configured to obtain audio data from at least one program content audio channel. The audio source device has an optical transmitter for transmitting the audio data as an optical signal and a transmitter – radio frequency (RF) receiver also includes a wireless headset which has an optical receiver for receiving the audio data as an optical signal, an RF transceiver for transmitting feedback data indicating a reception quality of the received optical signal in the wireless headset as a wireless RF signal and a loudspeaker to output the audio data contained in the optical signal and/or the data packets as sound”.

Undoubtedly, the text is consciously generic, but what one can understand is that optical transmission would rely on a conventional link to negotiate communication and also to give feedback on the adjustments necessary to guarantee its stability.

A system with high bandwidth and very low latency.

The same patent recognizes that, even over short distances, using an optical connection can present challenges, but recognizes that the benefits of this system are certainly attractive. The very nature of the augmented or virtual reality headset requires that the audio has almost no latency, for example.

“However, some sounds (e.g. low latency sounds) may require shorter latency. For example, sound associated with a physical action on the audio source device (e.g. a selection of an interface element (UI) on a touchscreen display that provides audible feedback when selected) may require a short audible response time (e.g., less than ten milliseconds).via BLUETOOTH may be delayed due to high latency, resulting in a discontinuity between UI element selection and audio feedback. This discontinuity may degrade the user experience.”

Beyond the patent we are talking about, what is clear is that Apple had to develop a large number of technologies to be able to shape its new augmented/virtual reality headset. Helmets that, if we pay attention to the latest rumors, we should see in the middle of next year.