InnovationWearable Tech

Is Amazon Developing An Augmented Reality Headset?

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Patent award could mean Amazon is set to upgrade its 3D technology for the virtual world

Amazon could be about to bring a whole new dimension to entertainment following reports that the company is planning to launch its own Augmented Reality (AR) headset.

Reports have revealed that Amazon has been granted a patent for a pair of AR smart glasses, which would allow users a more immersive experience when watching video content or playing games.

The online retail giant could be the latest big name to move into the AR space, following the examples set by Oculus Rift, Google Glass and Microsoft’s HoloLens.

Immersive

amazon-smart-glasses patent The patent award, first filed in September 2013 but published by the US Patent and Trademark Office this week, shows that Amazon’s glasses (pictured left) could be connected either wirelessly or via USB to a smart device such as a tablet, and then display video or images from that device in front of the wearer’s eyes.

Tapping on the tablet, it explains, transitions a surface in the display from opaque to transparent, making it possible to interact with the real world without taking the glasses off, similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens device.

“On the one hand, a large screen is beneficial for watching movies, playing games and even reading email comfortably,” the patent says. “On the other hand, the larger the screen, the bigger the device, which may be less desirable for a light and portable product. Another problem consumers experience with portable devices, like tablet devices, is the lack of ability to immerse themselves in a tablet experience, such as watching a movie on an airplane.”

Amazon has experimented with 3D technology in the past, as its ill-fated Fire smartphone sported “dynamic perspective”, which used front-facing cameras to track the user’s head and deliver a 3D view of content.

Rumours of an Amazon wearable headset first emerged earlier this year, as Lab126, the company’s development arm tasked with creating and building new Amazon products, was reportedly revealed be working on a glasses-free 3D tablet, using different technology to the Fire phone and a Kindle e-reader battery that could last for up to two years.

Augmented Reality is one of the fastest-growing trends in the technology space, as companies increasingly look to bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds.

A recent report from Gartner said that it expects to see ‘moderate’ adoption of AR technology over the next five years as the hardware supporting the technology, such as affordable head-mounted displays, along with integrated smartphone and tablet support, becomes more widespread and available.

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