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Amazon’s AR invention ditches the goggles, creates 3D maps

by Jacob Kleinman | December 2, 2015

Amazon hasn’t publicly announced any plans to release a virtual or augmented reality product, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t throwing around a few ideas. Back in October, the retail giant patented a pair of AR goggles, and a new Amazon patent may reveal even bigger plans for turning any room into an augmented reality playground.

The new patent, which was submitted back in 2013, describes a system for tracking objects in a three-dimensional environment. Amazon mostly focuses on how it can create the most accurate 3D map possible, but it also alludes to augmented reality several times in the filing.

Amazon’s AR system would theoretically work without any goggles or a heavy headset. Instead, projectors would simply display images on top of the real world. In one example, it could project an electronic book onto a surface for you to read. Amazon suggests it might also be used to create a virtual UI in real space, displaying a keyboard, slider bar or remote to interact with.

The tracking system would rely on multiple cameras and processors, along with a variety of other sensors. Amazon offers a long list of options, including microphones, ultrasound sensors, heat sensors, weight sensors, touch sensors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, pressure sensors and even olfactory sensors for measuring smells.

Amazon’s latest patent offers a pretty interesting take on augmented reality, though it’s one we’ve seen a few times before. Microsoft developed a similar concept with its RoomAlive project, and Apple just patented its own version of the same technology. Hopefully that means we’re not to far from one of these companies actually making this headset-free AR dream a reality.

USPTO

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...


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