Tom’s Guide recently posted a story referencing a Patently Apple update that detailed a new patent application (this one, however, is known as a “continuation in part” application) from Apple about potential future Apple glasses. Tom’s Guide explained that the patent application described how the glasses could upgrade surfaces into touchscreens.
Keep in mind that patent applications don’t necessarily mean that the technology is going to drop. However, it’s fun to speculate about the specs related to future Apple glasses. Could future Apple glasses upgrade everything with augmented reality interactions? How would this look?
Let’s peek into the potential but remember that patent applications don’t mean that this will become reality. Apple hasn’t announced anything.
The Continuation-in-Part (CIP) Patent
Patently Apple delved into the details about the CIP patent, which isn’t necessarily a new patent but expounds on the original patent. Law firm Perkins Coie explained on its site that “A CIP application permits a patent applicant to add new subject matter to the existing disclosure of the parent application while retaining the priority date for claims based on the original disclosure. The claims of the CIP can be directed to the new subject matter, the old subject matter or a combination of the two.”
Back in 2015, Patently Apple reported that Apple had acquired the company Metaio, which created the thermal touch technology that is described in the patent. Patently Apple explained that infrared and standard cameras can add info to surfaces. When an individual touches the surface, this leaves a “thermal signature.” The site further detailed that combining the augmented reality overlay info with the signature could transform almost anything into a touch screen.
Is this a bit complicated? Yes! But the potential for future augmented reality experiences could be amazing.
How Could Glasses Work in the Real World?
Apple augmented reality glasses have been the story of speculation for quite some time. Apple remains fairly mum about the glasses. Facebook and other tech giants also have been eyeing augmented reality with interest, too. And, of course, the talk of other branded augmented reality glasses also has been the topic of interest.
The reality of any new consumer-focused augmented reality glasses, however, is that no one knows what they could incorporate. So speculating about the features on glasses that haven’t been formally announced is merely just that…speculation.
With the potential for cameras to overlay digital graphics and the power of touch to provide a type of heat signature means that augmented reality could possibly be incorporated nearly anywhere. Tom’s Guide mentioned the idea of the user touching a magazine and then interacting with it via the glasses.
However, the potential goes beyond print. Even daily objects could include touch screens. Imagine just sitting in the living room, looking at the light and then just touching the light via augmented reality features to control it…maybe dim it or turn it off. While phones can allow users to control different appliances and household features, wearing glasses that provide similar functions would mean less reliance on the phone. Yet, if thermal touch was necessary to control items or to incorporate a touchscreen, would every item of the future rely on an initial fingerprint?
Let’s Go Shopping!
Imagine using augmented reality glasses to shop. The example of looking at a magazine and interacting with it could be a new way to shop. Ads could bring up a buy now option. Or suddenly users could be prompted to enter the online store from the advertisement.
Think about everyday products. Imagine touching a lipstick that was near the end of the tube and having augmented reality glasses showing where to buy the hue. Or maybe allowing the user to buy the new lipstick by showing a touchscreen option on the product.
Would physical stores be augmented, too? Maybe augmented reality glasses would show inventory for each item in the store. Or if the item was sold out, the glasses would bring up other locations that had the item in stock.
Augmented Cars…and Homes!
What about cars and homes? Would these include all augmented reality features? If suddenly a car’s paint was nicked, maybe the driver could use augmented reality glasses to find the exact color paint touch up. What if drivers lift the hood to interact with all parts of the vehicle? That is, maybe the computer of the car could interact with the glasses to show issues. This could make finding the issues with a vehicle easier for the owner.
Again, though, touch might be the prerequisite for control. Maybe the user touches the hood of the car, for example, and a touchscreen of information appears. Who knows how this could work. But perhaps the car interacts with the glasses.
Imagine an augmented reality home. There are already homes that rely on the Internet of Things (IoT), but what if all homes of the future spoke or interacted with augmented reality glasses? The walls could showcase touch screens. Or individual appliances.
Maybe the table becomes an interactive screen. Could glasses showcase a range of takeout options via the table? Or maybe touching a table shows grocery stores that users could shop. Perhaps the refrigerator, when touched, shows similar data. Many new models of refrigerators include smart screens but perhaps these are replaced by augmented reality features. The glasses might show that milk is a little low. Or maybe the refrigerator becomes the hub that takes the homeowner to augmented reality grocery options.
Augmented…Just a Little
While major augmented reality features incorporated via cars and homes with the help of glasses could one day be a future reality, the technology most likely would start off a bit less grandiose. The idea that magazines could be interactive might be the most logical reality.
What if even author bylines in magazines and print publications were augmented. Glasses could display a bio or the author’s other topics. Maybe users could explore info within a story or book or newspaper article.
But, again, the speculation of glasses is based on patent applications for Apple and for other tech companies…rumors. Augmented reality might be the future. But how augmented our reality will become is the biggest question.
In theory, everything could perhaps become interactive. Again, we’re already seeing this with smart screens on appliances and apps that hook into other appliances. Will technology take convenience to an augmented reality?
Maybe the bigger question is who will be the first to introduce a consumer-driven pair of augmented reality glasses? While there are some options on the market, these are mostly designed for enterprise use. Although consumers can buy augmented reality glasses with certain capabilities, they don’t interact with a magazine for augmented shopping experiences.
The glasses that many consumers might be waiting for to hit the market might be designed for unique shopping experiences or other interactive functions. While the data from Apple’s patent can point to possibilities, until a pair of Apple glasses is officially announced no one really knows what features the future will hold.
Enjoying Augmented Reality Now
Augmented reality glasses might be the future hope for consumers who love this technology, but augmented reality experiences can be discovered across the internet and via apps. The best part? Users don’t need glasses or any expensive technology to enjoy these augmented reality experiences!
Whether users own an Apple, Android or Windows device, there might be unique augmented reality experiences to explore. Many apps are accessible via both Apple and Android devices. Going shopping for cosmetics? Check out try-on experiences via brands or stores like Ulta. Try on lipsticks, eyeshadows, etc. Preview before hitting buy! Stores also can let users move augmented reality furniture into their room or check out new paint hues without swiping any colors on permanently. Augmented reality takes the mystery out of a purchase.
Not interested in using augmented reality for shopping? Use it to preview cars! Visit sites like RelayCars to check out different makes and models and preview them in a real-world environment. Switch out paint colors, look inside and walk around the car, too. Augmented reality can even be used to help consumers research when shopping for cars online.
Augmented reality games also let users play in an augmented world. These games require access to a device camera to show the user’s environment. Then graphics or characters are augmented into the world. The most popular augmented reality game might be Pokemon GO. Use augmented reality to find out where all the cute Pokemon are hiding, capture them…then do battle.
Of course, augmented reality also is found everyday…in the daily drive. Newer car models incorporate augmented reality into the backup cameras or GPS functions. Augmented reality data can show turning areas when it’s time to turn onto a new road. Or maybe just show the view behind the car to check for any obstacles.
Who knows which major tech company will release consumer-driven augmented reality glasses…or even what these glasses will feature. While patent applications could point to clues, until Apple—or any other company—makes an official announcement, the future is still shrouded in an augmented mystery.