Whilst the debate as to which is better, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or some form of mixed reality (MR) marrying the two concepts continues to rage and multiple invested parties continue to declare that each will be the death of the other, in the world of technology corporations it is clear that AR is certainly going to be a major battlefield.
Whilst AR has been around, in one form or another, for years, and has mirrored the developments of VR to a degree, things have certainly picked up over the last couple of years. Spurred on by the success of the likes of Pokémon GO; which, whilst it’s arguable as to the degree of AR in it, it certainly brought the technology to the awareness of the general public. Things went up a gear recently, as after much rumour Apple flung their hat into the arena with development software ARKit and whispers of AR hardware continue.
Considering the clout of Apple it isn’t surprising that other tech firms are beginning to lay groundwork for a potential battle over all things AR. Or that they have, in fact, been planning for some time also. One such a big name is Facebook – via Rift manufacturers Oculus – who late last week had published a new AR related patent for smart glasses.
The move, as reported on Business Insider, sees the team patenting a ‘Waveguide Display With Two-Dimensional Scanner”, with the patent initially filed back on October 13th 2016. The patent’s abstract section, which naturally gets rather technical describes it thus:
A waveguide display includes a light source, a conditioning lens assembly, a scanning mirror assembly, and a controller. The light source includes a plurality of source elements that are configured to emit image light in accordance with scanning instructions. The conditioning lens assembly transmits conditioned light based in part on the image light. The scanning mirror assembly scans the conditioned image light to particular locations as scanned image light in accordance with scanning instructions. The output waveguide includes an input area and an output area, receives the scanned image light emitted from the scanned mirror assembly at the input area, and outputs the expanded image light from a portion of the output area based in part on a direction of the expanded light output from the scanning mirror assembly. The controller generated the scanning instructions and provides the scanning instructions to the light source and the scanning mirror assembly.
Other key points note that it “may augment views of a physical, real-world environment with computer-generated elements” as well as potentially be “included in an eye-wear comprising a frame and a display assembly that presents media to a user’s eyes”. You can see images from the listing below.
With Oculus Connect 4 not that far away it could well be we will hear more about this technology at the event, or at the very least more of Facebook/Oculus’ plans within AR. Whatever the case, VRFocus will bring you updates as they become available.