Samsung Electronics was awarded a patent on an unconventional drone equipped with a display panel and featuring voice recognition capabilities, as revealed by a new set of documents published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on February 13. The sketch of the gadget seen above depicts a square contraption with four propellers and a 1:1 screen whose purpose remains unclear. The panel itself isn't embedded in the body of the unmanned aircraft but is instead attached to it via two hinges and is capable of tilting itself up. The drone concept also includes motion detection sensors that can track the user's movement and adjust the angle of the screen accordingly so as to ensure the display is always visible to them. No special effort on the part of the user is required for the functionality to work, so long as they're facing the general direction of the drone once they start moving, which will be enough for the aircraft to follow them, the patent suggests. Once the user is done inspecting the information presented by the drone's screen, they can turn their back to the gadget in order to dismiss it.
As such, the "flying display device" detailed by the South Korean tech giant may be utilized as an extremely mobile information panel in environments such as airports and hospitals. The invention can also detect hand gestures and react to them accordingly, with that description of the technology sounding reminiscent of the concept Chinese drone maker DJI attempted to commercialize with DJI Spark in mid-2017. With Samsung having one of the world's largest intellectual property portfolios, there are no guarantees the company will actually be looking to translate the newly patented contraption into a commercial product. The Seoul-based company originally submitted its patent application to the USPTO in early 2016.
Samsung established a dedicated drone unit in 2015 but has yet to ship such a consumer-ready device. The company also won a patent on a circular aircraft a year and a half ago but gave no signals it's planning to commercialize such a concept. Samsung's next high-profile offerings are scheduled to be announced later this week in the form of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus Android flagships.