Patent published on February 1, 2024

NTT DOCOMO's Patent Revolutionizes User Interface Control with an XR Watch

New York Times


NTT DOCOMO, a leading Japanese telecommunications company, has recently released a groundbreaking patent that aims to revolutionize user interface control in extended reality (XR) devices. With the patent titled "CONTROLLING A USER INTERFACE WITH A TRACKPAD AND A SMART WATCH," NTT DOCOMO addresses the limitations and discomfort associated with existing XR user interfaces.

Extended reality encompasses various forms of adjusted reality, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), hybrid reality, and their combinations or derivatives. While XR environments allow users to engage in immersive, interactive experiences, the current user interfaces often rely on hand tracking, which can be inaccurate and uncomfortable.

To solve this problem, NTT DOCOMO's patent introduces the concept of an XR Watch Controller. This innovative wearable gadget connects to an XR device, such as a head-mounted display, enabling users to control the XR user interface in a more accurate and intuitive manner. The XR Watch Controller incorporates a trackpad on its display surface, allowing users to move and interact with objects using familiar gestures.

By utilizing the trackpad on the XR Watch Controller, users can seamlessly navigate menus, control cursors, and interact with virtual objects. The display surface of the smartwatch serves as an extended trackpad, providing an intuitive interface between the user and the XR environment. This new method of user interface control brings greater accuracy and comfort to XR devices, enhancing the overall user experience.

Imagine a virtual world where architects can effortlessly design and manipulate 3D structures, or doctors can interact with virtual patient data during surgical simulations. With the XR Watch Controller, these tasks and more become more accessible and efficient. The device provides a bridge between the physical and digital realms, empowering users to interact with virtual objects as naturally as they would with physical ones.

The XR Watch Controller also introduces the XR Shortcut Feature, enhancing the user interface even further. Through carefully designed virtual buttons displayed on the smartwatch, users can conveniently access specific functions and commands. This feature reduces the need for complex gestures, making XR devices more user-friendly for individuals of all skill levels.

The impact of NTT DOCOMO's patent is far-reaching. It not only improves the user interface and experience of current XR devices but also opens the door to countless possibilities for industries reliant on virtual environments. Architects, designers, engineers, healthcare professionals, and various other fields stand to benefit from a more intuitive and efficient XR user interface.

Though this patent represents a significant step forward in XR technology, it is important to note that its appearance in the market is uncertain. While NTT DOCOMO continues to explore the development and commercialization of the XR Watch Controller, market availability is subject to further research, development, and regulatory considerations.

In conclusion, NTT DOCOMO's groundbreaking patent, "CONTROLLING A USER INTERFACE WITH A TRACKPAD AND A SMART WATCH," paves the way for more accurate and comfortable user interface control in XR devices. By incorporating a trackpad on a smartwatch, the XR Watch Controller revolutionizes how users interact with virtual environments. This invention holds the potential to reshape industries that heavily rely on XR technology, enabling seamless, natural interactions with virtual objects in a way never seen before.

P.S. Please note that the patent discussed in this article is a technological concept and its future availability in the market is uncertain.

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