Patent published on December 7, 2023

Snap's New Patent Could Make Spectacles Smarter and User-Friendly

In an age where technology is increasingly intersecting with daily life, finding intuitive ways to interact with devices poses an ongoing challenge. This issue is particularly prominent with augmented reality (AR) wearables. That's the problem Patent US20230394770A1, entitled "INPUT MODALITIES FOR AR WEARABLE DEVICES," aims to solve.

Today's AR wearable gadgets, like the Spectacles by Snap, need to be versatile yet user-friendly. However, the small physical size of such devices limits how much interface control can be incorporated, making interacting with them potentially uncomfortable or awkward. Further complicating matters is the rapidly growing number of AR applications. It's tough for users to select applications given these devices' limited physical space allotted to interface controls.

Snap's new patent tackles this concern head-on. Instead of burdening devices with additional buttons or touchpads, this invention processes images captured by AR wearables. These images contain identifiable objects, each tagged with relevant metadata — essentially their names or the actions they can perform. Similarly, AR applications are tagged with metadata selected by their developers. The patent's approach is to match an object's tags with the tags of AR applications. It then displays the matching AR applications on the wearable gadget's screen, making app selection more efficient and natural.

To give a practical example, imagine walking in a park with your AR glasses on. Spotting a specific bird, your glasses recognize and tag it, say, as a "sparrow." Simultaneously, corresponding apps tagged with "sparrow" — an app about birdwatching, for example — get presented to you on the AR glasses' display, ready for you to select and learn more about the bird. The abundance of AR applications at your disposal becomes something to rejoice, not something to worry about.

The implications of this patent herald a world where interfacing with AR wearables is less about buttons and menus and more about understanding and responding to the world around us. This improvement helps everyone, whether you're just browsing social media, getting directions, or learning about the environment in real-time. Wondering how your favorite pasta dish is made? Scan a pack of spaghetti with your glasses, and cooking tutorial apps pop up on your screen.

It's important to note that while this patent offers an impressive vision of the future, its actual implementation and availability in market products remain uncertain. Patents like this, however, do underscore Snap's commitment to making technology increasingly integrated and natural in our everyday lives.

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