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Summary:

The augmented reality startup is thinking about making it easier for individuals to tune headsets to their own vision. Another patent would allow Atheer’s glasses to prevent the copying of copyrighted material.

Prototype Atheer One and developer kit glasses, as of December 2013. Photo by Signe Brewster
photo: Signe Brewster

Nothing kills the joy of slipping on a pair of virtual or augmented reality glasses like sore eyes and a headache. If headset makers don’t get their hardware and software exactly right, they risk giving users sensations as severe as nausea.

Atheer, an augmented reality startup that plans to ship its $500 ($350 if you are an Indiegogo backer) One glasses next summer, announced today that it was awarded three patents, one of which would make it easier for individuals to tune One headsets to their own vision.

 

Executive vice president Sina Fateh explained that everyone generally has a more dominant eye, which slightly alters how they see the world in comparison to everyone else. Augmented and virtual reality goggles generally treat each eye like they are the same strength, causing strain.

“If people have a tiny difference between their eye and it is not corrected, they will have eye fatigue,” Fateh said in an interview. “They will see a change in the quality of the image and after an hour, they will start to see even a blurry image.”

Atheer’s patent covers a short test that would allow Atheer headset users to adjust images until they are comfortable to view. As a result, they can accommodate the slight difference in their eyes.

A second patent would actually help Atheer wearers improve their vision by challenging them to be more aware of their peripherals. Humans’ field of view is broad, but they generally only focus on a small area. By using an Atheer headset to lay virtual shapes or characters over the edges of their vision, users could train to be more spatially aware.

A diagram from a patent filed by Atheer shows how the startup might train people to improve their peripheral vision by being asked to identify shapes outside their central focus.

A diagram from a patent filed by Atheer shows how the startup might train people to improve their peripheral vision by being asked to identify shapes outside their central focus.

 

They could then utilize those corners of their vision to store apps and other virtual icons. It is a way to make the virtual world immediately accessible without taking up the central part of a person’s vision that needs to be kept clear.

The third patent covers a “secure system manager” that would monitor for rogue commands and other signs of a bug or security breach. It would also watch data flowing in and out and raise a flag if, say, there was an attempt to copy a copyrighted movie.

“With something like a head mounted display, where you don’t have to put it in your pocket, eventually it is likely people are going to be wearing these things and running them whenever they are up and about,” senior patent agent Michael Lamberty said. “If you have a system that you are linking to lots of different systems with, the security becomes increasingly important.”

Atheer now has five patents. It has filed around two dozen more, not all of which have been published. Lamberty said Atheer’s augmented reality interface is a big focus.

“The visual comfort is going to be extremely important for us, and for any glasses,” Fateh said. “As people start to use them, we are going to realize that it is extremely important to adapt them to each person.”