Google has recently applied for yet another patent application related to potential Google Glass applications. This time it details an augmented reality system that would allow you to recognize, connect to, and control other connected devices. We got our first look at some of the apps Google has in the works for Glass earlier this month when the company demoed Gmail, Evernote, The New York Times, and other apps up and running on Glass during a presentation at SXSW, but the new patent application discovered by Engadget goes well beyond simply reading New York Times headlines in the corner of your eye.
When the wearable computing device determines that a target device is within its environment, the wearable computing device obtains target device information related to the target device. The target device information may include information that defines a virtual control interface for controlling the target device and an identification of a defined area of the target device on which the virtual control image is to be provided. The wearable computing device controls the HMD to display the virtual control image as an image superimposed over the defined area of the target device in the field of view.
Google described a method of allowing Glass to recognize other devices, including: internet-connected appliances, through visual recognition, Bluetooth, QR codes, infra-red and/or a number of other technologies to display superimposed controls for the device to user wearing Google Glass. Two specific examples given in the patent application include a garage door and a refrigerator, as pictured in the sketches above. Imagine walking into a room while wearing Glass and seeing virtual controls for connected devices in the room hovering over the real-world items.
Google does not go into much detail about how exactly users would control the devices, but it mentions the obvious voice commands and gestures as a possibilities. In one embodiment, Google could display “a virtual control interface that is to be displayed on the surface of the target device in a defined area.” Google would then let you control those devices via “virtual buttons, switches, scroll bars, keys, or any other known elements for receiving input from a user.”
The patent application was published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, titled “Wearable Computer with Superimposed Controls and Instructions for External Device.”
We got a look at a new Glass app developed by Duke University earlier this month, called “InSight”, that will allow Glass users to easily detect friends and co-workers by learning and identifying the patterns and colors of clothing they wear.