Another day, another patent appears showcasing the whims of multinational tech giants. Recently a Sony patent appeared indicating plans for upgrades to PlayStation VR, adding features like inside-out tracking and wireless capabilities. The company is also investing in augmented reality (AR) technology, especially when it comes to head-mounted displays (HMD), with a patent describing a feature that’s more common on 180-degree cameras, stereoscopic lenses.
Spotted by the masters of patent hunting Lets Go Digital, this particular AR patent comes from the Japan Patent Office (JPO), published on 11 July 2019. As such all the details are in Japanese but the site has gleaned some information from the filing.
Most notably are the three pairs of cameras (2 x Left, 2 x Right, 2 x Centre) designed to record 3D imagery to provide accurate depth data of the environment to users. Using so many cameras to record a location should provide enough information that digital objects can be accurately placed or wrapped around the real-world for a true AR experience.
Lets Go Digital notes that some features mentioned include a ‘guide image’, which the user is then instructed to assume a particular position. This then allows the cameras to correctly image an object, providing an accurate depth map. Examples could be things like large furniture or a staircase.
Of course, what’s a Sony patent without a hint of PlayStation somewhere in there. The AR headset will have wireless connectivity features allowing it to be connected to a computer or PlayStation console using either a keyboard or gamepad respectively. So theoretically your favourite PlayStation characters could run around your living room, no longer confined to a TV or PlayStation VR.
The device could also be used with a phone or tablet, allowing new AR titles to be even more immersive. Further connectivity features mentioned include USB and HMDI.
While that design might be a long way off (or never happen), Sony has got an AR experience running right now for a limited time. Celebrating the 35th anniversary of Ghostbusters, the company is currently testing Ghostbusters Rookie Training as part of its Ghostbusters in the Park programme at the Ginza Sony Park in Tokyo. It began on 12th October and runs through until 8th December 2019.
If this sounds awesome it’s free to try, just be aware that the experience is entirely in Japanese and you’ll need to sign up and be picked by a lottery system. For further updates on Sony’s AR and VR plans, keep reading VRFocus.