Apple patent involves an integrated fan, head sink for the upcoming Vision Pro – Tech Live Trends

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11716829 B1) for an “integrated fan and head sink for a head-mountable device.” The goal is to ensure the upcoming Vision Pro is comfortable for users.

The Vision Pro is Apple’s US$3,499 (and up) “spatial computer.” It’s due in early 2024, though it will apparently only be available in limited quantities at first.

About the patent

In the patent, Apple notes that components of a head-mountable device can generate heat during operation. Excessive heat for long durations of time can damage the components of the head-mountable device and cause discomfort to the user. Heat can be mitigated in a number of ways, including with active mechanisms (e.g., fans) that are integrated into the head-mountable device.

However, Apple notes that operation of active cooling mechanisms (e.g., air movers) can generate noise and vibration that may interfere with the user’s desired experience with the head-mountable device. In particular, head-mountable devices are mounted on the head of the user and in close proximity to the ears of the user while in use. Apple says it would be desirable to reduce any noise and vibration so that it is not perceived by the user. 

Also, the company says it would be desirable to increase the efficiency of components of a head-mountable device to minimize power requirements during operation. Apple also wants to reduce the size and weight of components of the Visio Pro so that the size and weight of the overall system is minimized, allowing the user to wear and operate the head-mountable device with greater comfort.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A head-mountable device can provide a cooling module that effectively manages heat while also minimizing noise, vibration, leakage, power consumption, size, and weight. To dissipate heat, the cooling module with a fan can be operated to move air through a chamber within the head-mountable device. An integrated heat sink can provide heat dissipation properties by drawing heat away from heat-generating components and into the chamber. 

“The integrated heat sink can include a base plate that defines at least a portion of the chamber in which the blades of the fan are positioned. The integrated heat sink can further include fins between the chamber and an outlet. The fins can be integrated with the base plate to maximize heat dissipation and reduce the number of interfaces between separate parts.”

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