Apple Secures Patent for Impact-Resistant Fan System in Vision Pro HMD

January 18, 2024 – In a recent development, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has disclosed that Apple has been granted a patent for an innovative fan system within its Vision Pro head-mounted display (HMD). This system not only directs airflow within the HMD but also serves as a protective measure against external impacts like drops, safeguarding the fan motor system.

The patent details the fan system’s design, comprising a fan housing, a motor hub, and fan blades connected to the motor hub. One of the significant challenges addressed in the patent is the limited space between components in head-mounted displays and their inflexibility to absorb shock from incidents like falls.

Included in the patent are illustrative diagrams. Figure 5 depicts the motor hub in its first configuration, while Figure 6 shows the motor hub’s transformed state during an unexpected fall. In this scenario, the motor housing, labeled as #128, is shown to deform (for instance, by flattening or collapsing). An opening, designated as #131, reduces the overall structural rigidity of the motor housing and permits the side surface, labeled #130, to deform in either a reversible (such as collapsing) or irreversible (such as crushing) manner.

Another diagram, Figure 9, provides a planar view of the motor hub and fan blade assembly. Specifically, this top plan view reveals that the fan blades, labeled as #125, have a fused location, identified as #142, adjacent to the motor hub where the cross-section narrows or thins out.

In the event that the HMD encounters an external force, such as a frontal impact or a side hit, the components are designed to shift, move, and/or deform to absorb the energy from this impact. When the motor hub is configured to move in response to an external force, the fan blades are intended to deform relative to the motor hub, which could involve twisting, crushing, and/or separating. This innovative design showcases Apple’s commitment to enhancing the durability and functionality of its Vision Pro HMD.

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