One of many greatest hurdles for augmented actuality units is design: Nobody desires to put on an apparent gadget on their face. Realizing the problems Google Glass had with gaining shopper traction, it appears Fb might embrace a singular design for a future wearable. People, it’s a baseball hat.
In a patent that was initially filed again in 2019 and finally published this week, initially noticed by Founders Legal, Fb describes the design for its forward-thinking headgear as a substitute for conventional AR headsets and goggles which the corporate claims are “typically thick, heavy, and unbalanced and/or might generated extreme warmth that’s uncomfortable towards the consumer’s pores and skin.”
So as a substitute of a extra sci-fi design, Fb is probably creating a hat that makes use of its brim to carry a “show subsystem” that may be folded up or down as wanted. In its patent submitting, Fb makes use of a baseball hat to display the idea, however additional descriptions and illustrations describe a design that might be utilized to a variety of hat kinds, together with cowboy hats, visors, and, in fact, fedoras.
It’d look extraordinarily foolish, however in its patent submitting Fb says there are some notable benefits of a design like this. It makes it simpler to place probably sizzling electronics farther away from somebody’s face, thereby rising general consolation and wearability. Additionally, by utilizing brimmed hats, Fb says there’s extra floor space to put in AR parts, probably permitting Fb to design a extra superior or refined gadget.
As a result of the brim of a hat extends outward from the consumer’s face, Fb says there’s additionally extra room to incorporate issues like cameras for eye, face, and even body-tracking. However what may be the most important benefit to designing an AR headset round a brimmed hat is that should you’re not utilizing the hooked up show, you possibly can merely flip it up and make it appear like an everyday hat—or no less than that’s the thought.
Fb’s AR imaginative and prescient doesn’t finish there. The firm additionally imagines its AR hat might be ready to hook up with extra AR equipment like controllers, telephones, computer systems, or different haptic units, which you’ll be able to see within the splendidly illustrated picture above. This implies Fb’s AR hat may function a wearable pc designed to energy a complete new technology of AR tech.
And in case you’re nervous about that flip-down show blocking your sight when in use, Fb says the show may be semi-transparent, permitting you to see the true world and a pc overlay on the similar time.
Now as simple as it’s to poke enjoyable at Fb’s AR hat patent, it’s laborious to fault Fb for making an attempt. Microsoft, Apple, HTC, and extra are all engaged on creating their very own next-gen AR headsets, so it’s clear the push for linked AR units goes to be a significant pattern within the coming years. And with no firm having actually nailed the design for AR glasses which might be comfy, trendy, and simple to make use of, it might probably’t harm to suppose a bit exterior of the field.
I believe AR units that look extra like glasses than hats will finally win out, however whereas we anticipate miniature shows and projectors to enhance, no less than we have now this patent submitting for leisure.