Apple (and most tech companies) file patents for all kinds of technologies these days, but an application that surfaced just recently reveals a system that could make car rides much more exciting. The iPhone maker wants to patent a system that could enable passengers in a vehicle to virtually drive over zombies “in a post-apocalyptic landscape” while driving down the road—among other things.
Apple wants to fix motion sickness…
The company filed an application for a technology it calls “Immersive virtual display” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year, and the application was just published a few days ago. Apple presents its proposed system as a way to fight motion sickness in vehicle passengers, but reading the rest of the patent application has me scratching my head as to how driving over zombies in virtual reality might help with motion sickness.
At any rate, Apple’s idea is a virtual reality system for vehicles that can “provide virtual views that match visual cues with the physical motions that a passenger experiences.” The virtual world that passengers see while riding in the vehicle can be changed to whatever they would like to see while riding down the road. The company suggests that the VR system could be used to make it appear as if the vehicle isn’t going as fast as it really is or present other virtual environments that don’t cause motion sickness like riding in a vehicle does.
But there’s more…
However, it sounds like the idea goes far beyond just assistance for motion sickness, based on the suggestions for what passengers might see while they’re riding in a vehicle equipped with the proposed system. Apple suggested that the VR system could also be used simply to make road trips more interesting through virtual experiences like “driving through a post-apocalyptic wasteland with zombies attacking.”
It rather sounds like a 4D theater, as the company even suggests that the HVAC systems inside the vehicle could be integrated with the VR system “to provide physical effects with the virtual experience.” In other words, if passengers are virtually experiencing cold temperatures, the vehicle could turn the temperature way down by blasting cold air at them.
And as if just the look and feel of being in The Walking Dead isn’t enough, Apple even suggests that the virtual experiences could be made interactive. For example, passengers could be made to feel like they’re running over zombies. To heighten the excitement even further, the company suggests this:
“… If the vehicle stops at a red light or for some other reason when fleeing zombies in a post-apocalyptic landscape, the virtual experience may cause the vehicle to appear to stall and now allow the car to be restarted until the light turns green to build suspense.”
Let’s just hope that this VR system for cars is one of those patents that never ends up in a final product, although all the reports about Apple working on a car may be cause for some concern. We’re already in a time in which children suffer from sensory processing disorders (as my son does, for one). It seems like the last thing we need is another piece of technology that regularly overloads our senses with more than they can process.