The online marketplace has always had a considerable interest in tech development and AR glasses may be next.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent last week which belonged to Amazon and that described a new type of augmented reality smartglasses, indicating that this may be among the companies next areas of focus.
This also suggests that, contrary to some predictions, the retailer may not be abandoning new tech hardware development.
It is true that in August, Amazon did start to wind down some of its vast range of experimental hardware initiatives. However, new evidence in the form of patents is suggesting that it isn’t completely shutting down these development efforts. It now looks as though a pair of augmented reality wearables could be next up. The patent describes a set of spectacles that can be paired with a smartphone or tablet in order to allow a user to view streamed video right in front of his or her eyes.
This would place the retailer in a new type of competition with Microsoft, Google and others in augmented reality wearables.
According to the description in the patent, the smartglasses Amazon wants to create would be able to transition from an image or video display into a transparent one. What this means is that the person using the wearable technology glasses would still be able to interact with his or her environment when not actually viewing the content in front of their eyes.
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Because this uses AR and not fully virtual reality technology, it remains possible for the software to create three dimensional images superimposed over the real physical environment around the wearer. This makes it possible for what is known as mixed reality, where what is real and what is digital are combined in interesting and potentially interactive and very practical ways.
While Amazon is getting into this augmented reality smartglasses industry at a time that it is still in its early infancy, it is interesting to note that there are actually quite a few players that have started to make a name for themselves within it. There are even those that have already come and gone. In Google’s case, it has already had a full beta testing generation, has withdrawn, and is now indicating that it is moving back into the environment again.