Patent Application Reveals Details of Facebook's AR Glasses

It has long been known that Facebook is making steps towards setting itself up as a dominant force in the world of virtual and augmented reality technologies, but details concerning such developments are generally quite scarce. However, a new patent application filed last Thursday and first spotted by Business Insider may have offered us some additional insight into Facebook's development of AR glasses.

Img: Facebook/USPTO
The patent application, filed for a "wavelength display with two dimensional scanner", marks the latest effort by Facebook's VR subsidiary Oculus to deliver upon hefty promises which have been preached about for years now with very little actual progress.

According to the patent application, the display "may augment views of a physical, real-world environment with computer-generated elements" and "may be included in an eye-wear comprising a frame and a display assembly that presents media to a user’s eyes."

Basically, they are in fact the long-promised AR glasses.

In place of a traditional display the glasses would use a waveguide display to project images onto the wearer's eyes. The glasses will be capable of delivering not only static images but also video and audio, when connected to headphones or speakers for the latter. This approach falls in line with similar efforts made by the likes of Microsoft and Google. In fact one of the patent's authors, namely Pasi Saarikko, only joined Facebook in 2015 after leading the optical design of Microsoft's HoloLens.

Although Facebook and Oculus declined to comment on the patent when approached by Business Insider, an excerpt from Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash's talk at the Facebook developer conference earlier this year does provide some insight into their future ambitions.

He told his audience at the conference, "20 or 30 years from now, I predict that instead of carrying stylish smartphones everywhere, we’ll wear stylish glasses. Those glasses will offer VR, AR and everything in between, and we’ll use them all day."

Progress on VR and AR technologies may be slow, but it is far from stagnant. So long as giant technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple continue to pour resources into the field, significant breakthroughs are surely just around the corner.

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