Tech patents pop up all the time, some more ludicrous than others. They generally help showcase what direction a company is going with its R&D experiments and this week there’s been a double helping from Oculus, with one patent focused on wireless relay system while the other looks at eye tracking.
While neither of the two are new technologies what they’re trying to achieve are solutions to quite unique problems. With the wireless relay system for example Oculus is looking to improve signal degradation between and headset and computer using an additional component or ‘relay’. Depending on area size, a wireless system may only operate within certain confines – namely distance – and as a user moves around that signal quality can suffer if the distance increases or an object comes between the two.
So Oculus’ solution is to employ a relay which would operate as an intermediary between the headset and home device. Essentially this would work in a similar fashion to a WiFi extender system. Going into greater detail the patent notes: “The relay includes two antenna arrays: one configured to communicate with the HMD and the other configured to communicate with the console. As a consequence of these antenna arrays being proximally located, there is undesirably feedback between the two antenna arrays. A calibration module in the relay iteratively adjusts a noise reduction parameter until the effects of the undesirable feedback are eliminated.”
As for the eye tracking patent. Oculus seem to be looking a more accurate system than most currently seen in the market today. The company claims that most eye tracking solutions track features of the human eye which aren’t nearly precise enough for virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs).
The solution in this patent revolves around capturing information from the cornea – the back of the eye – to create an accurate eye model. The system does this via two light sources and an optical sensor in the middle.
As the patent explains: “The optical detector is configured to capture images of the cornea based on one or more reflections. The eye tracking unit is configured to generate a model of the user’s eye. The generated eye model is used to determine eye tracking information such as gaze direction as the user glances at different objects in the HMD.”
Spotted by Redditor valdovas, like any patents these could merely be whimsical ideas put to paper and patented just in case. It’s just quite apt that they should appear this week what with Brendan Iribe leaving Oculus and the second generation Oculus Rift being mentioned.