Sony has started filing patents around VR headsets

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
#1
And so the rumoured R&D work starts trickling out into the public domain.

The patents themselves aren't enormously illuminating - because they are quite broad. But people with knowledge of the field can dig in and see if there are any hints as to what approaches they're using.

They fall into two categories - a few patents covering mostly the same thing, basically 'hazard detection' in the usage of immersive HMDs.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP2661097A2.pdf

Meaning, when you are immersed in VR, you may be wearing noise-cancelling headphones, and you obviously cannot see your surroundings. If there is an emergency - like an alarm going off, or an object moving quickly to your head - it would be good to alert you of it, so that patent is talking about ways of doing that, by allowing certain types of noise through, and by unobscuring your vision if there is a hazard in proximity with your head.

The second type patent deals with head motion detection and image stabilisation in a HMD:

The invention recognises that relatively small, higher frequency movements, representing head wobble rather than a definite movement, can lead to a disparity between the amount of compensation applied by the human psycho-visual system and the amount of change in the apparent viewpoint applied by the HMD system. This disparity can lead to visual discomfort.

The invention addresses this by applying a compensation for small higher frequency movements in addition to that applied (in virtual reality type systems) in respect of lower frequency motion components.
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP2660645A1.pdf

Again, it's very broad, it covers everything from digital image processing through to physically moving screens, and modifying optics to pass images differently in order to compensate for certain motions.

It's hard to discern what technology they may actually be pursuing because they name check as much as possible. But a couple of things come up over and over - seemingly two displays, optical lenses (convex or compound), the possibility of a certain level of electrically controllable 'see through' materials/optical see through, optical markers + depth camera for positioning.

Some obligatory patent pictures:









In keeping with previous rumours, these patents list two Evolution Studios staff members as the inventors, who happen to be 3D/stereoscopic/simulation specialists. They were filed in May 2013.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
#8
So could Sony sue the guys doing the Oculust Rift with these patents?
They're only applications, haven't been granted.

But there's so many ways to skin a cat and you can be pretty sure everyone will be doing it just different enough from one another to avoid litigation.
 

DietRob

i've been begging for over 5 years.
#10
I've been under the impression that Sony would absorb Oculus Rift. I don't have any basis or source for this belief it's just been a gut feeling.
 
#12
So could Sony sue the guys doing the Oculust Rift with these patents?
Not really. Even if the patent explicitly described the Oculus technology, it was filed last May, and OR has been presented for longer than that. They can claim anteriority and Sony can't prevent them from producing and exploiting their product. They could prevent them from filing their own patents, though.
I'm pretty sure the OR guys have their own patents though. It's what makes those patent stories tricky to handle, most of the time it looks like they're protecting technologies that we've known for years and are already patented, but they're frequently accepted for technicalities in specific details.
 
#13
I've been under the impression that Sony would absorb Oculus Rift. I don't have any basis or source for this belief it's just been a gut feeling.
Well Oculus has some Gaikai people and that got bought by Sony. Yosp has tweeted/talked about the Rift in the past and said they have some of the dev kits at Sony.
 
#16
Started to? Sony already have commercial VR headsets released, they've been working on these things for years.
All helmets with embedded screens are not VR, you need at least inertial sensors to have the displayed images adapt to your head motions and immerse you into the virtual world.
Most of the Sony headsets are just meant to simulate a big 3D screen, I don't think they have produced a true VR headset yet (or maybe only for professionals ?)
 
#18
Started to? Sony already have commercial VR headsets released, they've been working on these things for years.
I believe so far they've all been for just head mounted displays.
The second one actually involves using information from head movement, so it's the first that I've seen that suggests something like the Occulus Rift.
 
#19
All helmets with embedded screens are not VR, you need at least inertial sensors to have the displayed images adapt to your head motions and immerse you into the virtual world.
Most of the Sony headsets are just meant to simulate a big 3D screen, I don't think they have produced a true VR headset yet (or maybe only for professionals ?)
Good point, I was thinking of their headsets.
 

Raticus79

Seek victory, not fairness
#20
Seems weird to patent a safety feature. Putting seatbelts and airbags in your car, eh? Royalties please. (Mind you this might actually be how it works today, I haven't checked)

I suppose this is more like the automatic collision detection and braking on fancier cars.

At least the potential for a patent gold mine will motivate further VR research. ("Patent rush"?)
 
#22
I am excited for this. 3D? Not interested, but virtual reality could lead to a revolution in personal gaming.

Don't screw this up Sony.
 
#23
I just can't see myself wearing a headset like that or any VR headset of any sort. I'm just not as into it as some of you are. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I'm not all that excited this.
 
#25
I just can't see myself wearing a headset like that or any VR headset of any sort. I'm just not as into it as some of you are. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I'm not all that excited this.
Well, I think that nobody really expects this to become mainstream. Whatever Sony comes up with, together with the Occulus Rift, are destined to be niche products. Thing is, I am willing to invest in niche products as long as they are interesting.
 
#28
I hope its not as uncomfortable as the HMZ.

I was also more or less hoping for lightweight goggles instead of a headset that let the PSEye2 do the tracking work.

Edit: going by patent pictures, it looks to be using the camera. But bah at the headset.
 

AndyD

aka andydumi
#29
My main concern looking at those is that they were only filed earlier this year. I have a feeling that may be a little late to the game compared to other companies.
 

Kuro Madoushi

Unconfirmed Member
#30
Not really. Even if the patent explicitly described the Oculus technology, it was filed last May, and OR has been presented for longer than that. They can claim anteriority and Sony can't prevent them from producing and exploiting their product. They could prevent them from filing their own patents, though.
I'm pretty sure the OR guys have their own patents though. It's what makes those patent stories tricky to handle, most of the time it looks like they're protecting technologies that we've known for years and are already patented, but they're frequently accepted for technicalities in specific details.
I want to add as someone who worked with tech patents that it's the reason for the secrecy and the huge rush and stress and deadlines.
 
#32
I just can't see myself wearing a headset like that or any VR headset of any sort. I'm just not as into it as some of you are. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I'm not all that excited this.
Kinda similar with me as I aint a fan of first person games. But I can definitely see the mass audience for this kind of thing.
 
#33
My main concern looking at those is that they were only filed earlier this year. I have a feeling that may be a little late to the game compared to other companies.
They already have TV viewing headsets on store shelves. So They've got the partnerships to start producing a VR set and get it onto consumer's faces whenever they decide to do it.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
#34
My main concern looking at those is that they were only filed earlier this year. I have a feeling that may be a little late to the game compared to other companies.
Rumour has it they're targeting a release next year, which could have them meet or beat OR to the market.

Evo has a number of people with simulation and military simulation backgrounds and have been prototyping VR experiences for quite a long time. They mentioned them while promoting PS3 3D for example.
 
#36
A new Media Molecule IP for VR on day one would be mind-blowing.

Probably the device will simply be called 'PlayStation VR'.
You know, in style with PlayStation Camera, PlayStation Move, PlayStation App, PlayStation Network etc etc.
 
#37
I just can't see myself wearing a headset like that or any VR headset of any sort. I'm just not as into it as some of you are. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I'm not all that excited this.
That's the thing that I find funny. So many people complained how silly people looked wearing glasses but its ok to wear a 3lb. helmet/night vision setup.

Personally I really enjoy 3D Tv, movies, and games. I had hoped to see more 3D on PS4 and X1. I play mostly with other family members so having to pass around headgear is not ideal.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
#38
A new Media Molecule IP for VR on day one would be mind-blowing.
The 'tool' they showed in Feb would be absolutely perfect for it. First person sculpting/user content creation + move + VR. As they put it, they want people to build and share 'dreams'. VR seems like a perfect fit.

I know Alex Evans also took delivery of an OR dev kit back when they were first shipping too.
 
#41
Did Sony just win the console war?
Easy tiger; let's wait and see. I remember when the EyeToy was an incredibly exciting bit of tech too, and Move was great when it worked. However, Sony are pretty bad at releasing additional peripherals and not supporting them strongly and consistently with software. Something like this would absolutely depend on clever software to make the most of it. That being said, given how they're in bed with a lot of indies, maybe Sony are just going to get ports of loads of Rift-compatible PC games, as well as have some support from their internal studios.
 
#43
Well, I think that nobody really expects this to become mainstream. Whatever Sony comes up with, together with the Occulus Rift, are destined to be niche products. Thing is, I am willing to invest in niche products as long as they are interesting.
I could see it being niche ... like anime gal games niche. In fact, it might be seen a boon to those types.
 
#44
That's the thing that I find funny. So many people complained how silly people looked wearing glasses but its ok to wear a 3lb. helmet/night vision setup.
Well chances are they are two different sets of people. However VR is offering a much different experience than 3D, so people may get over the goofy factor.

Also the Oculus Dev kits are quite light (379g/.83lb) and that's apparently about 100g heavier than targeted for consumer.
 
#49
And so the rumoured R&D work starts trickling out into the public domain.

The patents themselves aren't enormously illuminating - because they are quite broad. But people with knowledge of the field can dig in and see if there are any hints as to what approaches they're using.

They fall into two categories - a few patents covering mostly the same thing, basically 'hazard detection' in the usage of immersive HMDs.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP2661097A2.pdf

Meaning, when you are immersed in VR, you may be wearing noise-cancelling headphones, and you obviously cannot see your surroundings. If there is an emergency - like an alarm going off, or an object moving quickly to your head - it would be good to alert you of it, so that patent is talking about ways of doing that, by allowing certain types of noise through, and by unobscuring your vision if there is a hazard in proximity with your head.

The second type patent deals with head motion detection and image stabilisation in a HMD:



http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP2660645A1.pdf

Again, it's very broad, it covers everything from digital image processing through to physically moving screens, and modifying optics to pass images differently in order to compensate for certain motions.

It's hard to discern what technology they may actually be pursuing because they name check as much as possible. But a couple of things come up over and over - seemingly two displays, optical lenses (convex or compound), the possibility of a certain level of electrically controllable 'see through' materials/optical see through, optical markers + depth camera for positioning.

Some obligatory patent pictures:









In keeping with previous rumours, these patents list two Evolution Studios staff members as the inventors, who happen to be 3D/stereoscopic/simulation specialists. They were filed in May 2013.
And IGN are quoting your name on Gaf in their articles

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/11/07/ps4-vr-headset-possible-patents-spotted

:D