An interesting patent application from Google that was published by the US Patent Office recently shed light on specific augmented reality features that are likely related to Project Glass. Google's filing states that the glasses in this new invention are designed to enhance a user's vision and experience beyond its limited 180 degree field of view (FOV). Google's invention will enable the user to be aware of objects that are outside their field of view. For the most part, the application appears to be well suited for tourists, though it does have some interesting yet weakly defined alternative uses in mind. A unique aspect to Google's design could be found in a line of tiny lights positioned on the inside bottom of the frame as noted in our cover graphic above. A particular light within that line will illuminate when there's something of interest to view at a particular angle within the field of view of the glasses. It could be a building, structure or person.
Google's Example Glasses System
Google's patent FIG. 2 shown below illustrates an embodiment of an example system for augmenting a field of view of a user. As shown, the device 200 includes a detector 202. The detector may be mounted on the frame 212, or on one of the lenses 214, or elsewhere on the device. The detector may be, for example, a camera or other imaging device. The detector may be a two-dimensional detector, or may have a three-dimensional spatial range. In some embodiments, the detector may be enhanced through sensor fusion technology. In any case, the detector is configured to image an environment, such as the environment surrounding a user. Alternately, the environment may be a digital display.
On the inside bottom of the frame there's a line of visual indicator lights. Upon illumination of the selected visual indicators, the user's attention will be drawn to the relative spatial location of the object of interest, as shown by sight lines 210 above. In this manner, the device may augment the field of view of the user.
Google states that when the user turns his or her head, the orientation sensor will sense the direction in which the user has turned his or her head. Accordingly, visual indicators used to indicate the position of the object of interest may be reselected in order to account for the movement of the user.
Google notes that the system is also designed to assist passengers in a moving vehicle and not just when standing still.
Google's patent FIG. 1 noted above illustrates the field of view of a user as compared to the field of view of an example detector. As shown, a user 100 (as indicated by the image of the eye) has a field of view 102, and a detector 104 has a field of view 106. The respective fields of view 102 and 106 of the user and the detector may be compared by considering the objects that are located inside each field of view.
Specifically, patent FIG. 1 shows three objects: a sign 108, a house 110, and a person 112. As shown, the field of view 102 of the user includes only the sign 108, while the field of view of the detector includes the sign, the house and the person. The detector may be used to "augment" the field of view 102 of the user by imaging the objects both inside and outside the field of view of the user.
If you think about it for half a second, this could be an interesting invention for law enforcement officers or even for soldiers in the field. The augmented field of view would provide them with a wider field of view. That's just a personal observation and not one presented in Google's filing.
Google has other ideas for their next-gen video glasses that are interesting though vaguely described. For instance, the patent filing reads: "In one embodiment, additional information may be permanent information stored in a database or in data storage on the device. In another embodiment, the additional information may be periodically updated either manually by the user or automatically by the device. As an example, if the object of interest is a person, the additional information may include an unread text message or email from the person. As another example, if the object of interest is a clothing item, the additional information may include the location of a store selling the clothing item, its price, or other information. Other examples are possible as well."
Unfortunately, Google's filing never really explains that latter example. Perhaps they're leaving that for a future filing. Yet backtracking to the cover graphic. Think of salesman or executive being approached by a customer at a convention, one whose name just happens to escapes them. Wouldn't it be cool in such a scenario if Google's glasses were outfitted with a facial recognition feature that would be able to flash-recognize an individual in their database and quickly flash the relevant information on your lens-screen? I see people nodding their head in the infirmative. Yes, that would be of interest to some.
And lastly, the particular design style of the glasses presented in their patent filing opens up the question as to whether Google will consider offering consumers a wider range of design styles over time under the Project Glass label. Time will tell.
The serial number associated with Google's latest patent is 461492 for identification purposes. Their invention was originally filed in Q1 2011 and revised in Q2 2012. It was published by USPTO in Q3 2012. In context with Google Glasses, also see our May 2012 report titled "Google Reveals Video Glasses Working with Magic Rings & Invisible Tattoos." Google's first real video glasses product is due to arrive in the marketplace sometime in late 2013.
Note to Referring Sites: We ask that referring sites using our graphics in their reports to leave our name on the graphic as indicated on each graphic. Thank you for your cooperation.
The Patent Bolt blog presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. Revelations found in patent applications shouldn't be interpreted as rumor or fast-tracked according to rumor timetables.
About Comments: Patent Bolt reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.