Apple Inc. talks about the use of Chroma Keying embedded in a VR headset in its latest patent application 20200252593A1. This indicates their interest to enter the AR/VR headset market and launch their own headsets.
Chroma keying is a visual-effects technique usually done post-production for compositing two images or video streams together based on color hues.
One of the most common examples of this is the use of a green screen where images of choice can be replaced by the green hue.
With the help of chroma keying embedded in Augmented Reality (AR) Apple can use this post-production effect to create Mixed Reality (MR). Mixed Reality is where virtual elements are merged into the real-world environment in real-time which can be enabled by a headset.
AR basically overlays digital information on real-world elements. For instance Snapchat or the very popular game of Pokémon GO.
MR on the other hand mixes the real world and digital elements. You interact with both physical and virtual items and environments. It has various applications from gaming, to movies, to medicine.
One of the great examples is a crane simulator where the controls would be real objects and the crane and environment would be virtual. It is used to train crane operators before they are handed the machinery. With the help of this, they can learn how to handle the machine in the real world before they use it in the real world.
Another example would be a social MR experience using a color screen that covers the whole field of view and only the user’s body is not replaced by virtual content (unless their color is the same as the screen). It can be seen frequently used by people in the entertainment industry.
It would be interesting to see the headset model that Apple rolls out with and all the fields that they will implement this technology in.