Patent published on February 1, 2024

NTT DOCOMO Patents XR Control Feature for Smart Watches

XR MANIPULATION FEATURE WITH SMART WATCH Solves Long-standing User Interface Limitations in Extended Reality

A newly published patent from NTT DOCOMO, a leading Japanese telecommunications company, introduces a groundbreaking solution to the limitations faced by users in extended reality (XR) environments. The patent, titled "XR Manipulation Feature with Smart Watch" (patent number US20240036698A1), offers a revolutionary control mechanism that provides an intuitive and seamless experience for XR device users.

Extended reality encompasses virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and related technologies, which offer users a modified version of reality. Although XR environments provide immersive experiences, the user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX) have been hindered by various factors. One such limitation is the reliance on hand tracking, which can be ineffective and uncomfortable for users. Moreover, the need to hold separate controllers or smartphones adds inconvenience to the XR experience.

The newly patented XR Manipulation Feature with Smart Watch addresses these challenges by enabling users to manipulate objects displayed in the XR device's UI using a smart watch. This innovative approach eliminates the need for hand tracking detachable areas or additional controllers like smartphones. By leveraging the capabilities of a smart watch, users can seamlessly control and interact with virtual objects in the XR environment, enhancing their overall experience.

The patent's figures provide illustrative examples of how the XR Manipulation Feature with Smart Watch can be employed. In Figure 3A and 3B, a smart watch is utilized alongside a virtual controller displayed in the XR device's UI to manipulate objects. Figures 4A to 4F demonstrate how the smart watch can be used to move, rotate, and scale selected virtual objects. These intuitive interactions offer a natural and familiar way for users to engage with the XR environment.

Once this patent becomes a reality, the XR Manipulation Feature with Smart Watch has the potential to revolutionize the way users interact with virtual elements. Users will no longer need to rely on uncomfortable hand tracking or carry additional devices such as smartphones. The convenience and simplicity of using a smart watch as the interaction device for XR environments will undoubtedly enhance user adoption and satisfaction.

In the near future, users could find themselves effortlessly navigating virtual worlds, manipulating objects, and engaging with XR experiences through their smart watches. Imagine scaling a virtual sculpture or precisely rotating a virtual architectural design with the flick of a wrist. Professionals in various fields, such as architecture, design, gaming, and education, will greatly benefit from this newfound freedom and ease of interaction.

It's important to note that, as with any patent, there is no guarantee of its market appearance. However, the publication of this patent demonstrates significant progress in the field of XR interaction and offers a glimpse into the possibilities that lie ahead in the exciting world of extended reality.

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