August 22, 2019
Two years ago, Mark Zuckerberg revealed plans to develop Augmented Reality (“AR”) glasses that would achieve a simplified world involving “a lot less stuff”. “Think about how many of the things you use [that] don’t actually need to be physical,” Zuckerberg told Recode in an April 2017 interview:
“You want to play a board game? You snap your fingers, and here’s the board game,” he said, motioning to the coffee table. “You want to watch TV?” he gestured to the flat screen up on the wall. “You don’t need a physical hardware TV, you buy a one-dollar app ‘TV’ and put it on the wall.”
At the time, Zuckerberg believed the technology needed for AR glasses was potentially five or seven years away.
Facebook is now one step closer to making its AR glasses a reality. Facebook recently filed a patent titled “cartilage conduction audio system for eyewear devices”. The patent builds on a previous patent it filed in August 2017 that also relates to AR glasses. According to Mashable, the concepts in the two patents are similar, but the 2019 design is much further along.
The latest patent talks of projecting sound into users’ ears while allowing them to still hear surrounding ambient noise. The design incorporates a head-mounted display that does not make use of over-the-ear or in-ear headphones or earbuds. Facebook claims this will allow users to have “a more immersive and safer experience” when using its AR glasses.
Facebook may seek to patent more AR-related technology as the company continues to develop the necessary tools to bring its AR glasses to market.
Authors: Larissa Fulop and Jay Piett