Andy Rubin's Essential Developing AR Glasses, Patent Hints

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Andy Rubin's consumer electronics startup Essential is developing a pair of augmented reality (AR) smart glasses, as suggested by a recently uncovered patent filing attributed to the Palo Alto, California-based company. The firm applied for a patent detailing connected glasses equipped with a dual-mode display and a camera sensor, with the device itself being described as something akin to the Google Glass.

Apart from a forward-facing camera, the pair of glasses that Essential may be developing could also be equipped with one or multiple user-facing sensors, as the associated patent documentation describes a hypothetical wearable that boasts three cameras in total. The glasses could be designed as both a fashion accessory and visual aid, with the company's filing noting how the invention can work with traditional prescription lenses, both regular and photosensitive. The forward-facing camera was likely meant to serve for AR and simple recording purposes while the user-facing sensors can track a person's gaze, as suggested by the patent documentation detailing Essential's invention. The software running on the device can project digital images onto the real environment seen through the glasses, with the filing specifically naming an example of the device identifying a product barcode, then listing cheaper purchasing options next to it. Potential applications of such technology are seemingly limitless, though it remains to be seen whether Essential's device will ever be commercialized. Even if that happens, the firm's pair of intelligent glasses likely won't be identical to the invention detailed in the newly uncovered patent filing that only contains a rough sketch of the device and some general descriptions.

It's currently unclear whether the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) already granted the patent outlined above and the source who uncovered it hasn't disclosed when the original application was filed. Regardless, a pair of connected glasses may seem like a natural extension of Essential's product strategy that already led the company to simultaneously announce a smartphone and a smart home hub that are meant to serve as privacy-oriented alternatives to existing consumer electronics. As the Californian firm is apparently still looking to diversify its product portfolio, more details on its future product strategy could be available shortly.

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