Patent published on August 22, 2023

New Patent Could Make Meta's Virtual Playdates Easier

The modern gadgetry lifestyle has brought us into an era of artificial reality, where devices that create simulated experiences are gaining popularity. However, these very technological wonders have also posed a significant issue: the diminished awareness of our immediate physical surroundings. This becomes most apparent when one dons an artificial reality headset, inadvertently missing out on real-life interactions that could otherwise have been initiated with those in close vicinity. Simply put, people wearing these headsets might very well miss out on catching up with a friend who just happened to be passing by.

This problem relates not just to our social lives but also emphasizes how our devices, while bringing us into virtual worlds, sometimes eclipse the real one. This issue calls for solutions that blend both of our worlds, keeping our connections intact and ensuring we do not become oblivious to our surroundings while we roam in the virtual domain.

A remarkable step towards addressing this issue has been made by Meta Platforms Technologies, who have been granted the US11736535B1 patent titled 'Communication in an artificial reality device due to predicted acquaintance interception'. The patent in question aims to bridge this connection gap lingering between the artificial and real world.

At its core, it's a simple yet brilliant system which, when two people, each wearing an artificial reality headset are close enough and share considerable acquaintance level, one headset can automatically initiate a call with the other. This way, while enjoying the virtual world, opportunities for real-life interactions aren't missed.

In our day-to-day lives, such an innovation could prove to be a game-changer. Take, for instance, two friends, John and Mary, both avid users of artificial reality headsets, going about their day at a popular public park. As John casually strolls in, Mary, engrossed in her virtual world, gets a notification on her headset about John's proximity without having to check her phone or any external device. They get connected within their headsets, and voila, a spontaneous virtual playdate ensues right in the middle of the park!

To explain more simply, with the given patented technology, users like John and Mary can connect readily in a more significant manner despite being absorbed in their virtual world. It helps them not to isolate themselves but rather expand their social connections.

Yet, with all the excitement, it is crucial to remember that whilst this patent presents a newfound solution to a prevailing problem, there is no guarantee when or indeed if this technology will find its way to the market. After all, a patent merely offers an exclusive right to an invention, not necessarily a promise of its potential commercialization or mass production.

Therefore, although the promise of such technology is undoubtedly incredible, we must wait to see how it unfolds and how soon we can expect to have such artificial reality systems making our virtual excursions more connected and aware.

P.S. Please note this patent, US11736535B1, is presently only a blueprint of an invention. It doesn't assure that the product will indeed be developed or brought to the market.

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