If you've ever dreamt of seeing the world like Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator," Google may have the thing for you. A Google patent published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes technology that would allow users wearing gadgets like Google Glass to receive information about objects within their line of vision.
The technology described within the patent application -- formally titled "Self-Describing Three-Dimensional (3D) Object Recognition and Control Descriptors for Augmented Reality Interfaces" -- would "provide for the detection and recognition of target devices, by a mobile computing device." Or in more simple English, the tech would give users stats for any items they saw, such as a chair's height or the width of a table, using augmented reality. Additionally, the tech could provide users with a map of the room they are in, according to the patent.
"Think about an interface similar to what we have seen in the Terminator movies. [For example,] you look at a bottle of wine, it will be able to tell you everything you want to know about the bottle -- this will be amazing at dinner parties," said Mikhail Avady of SmartUp, a legal startup that specializes in helping clients connect with lawyers. SmartUp were the first to spot the patent. There are no promises that this would look like Terminator's vision, but it sure seems like there are similarities.
Terminator vision may sound farfetched, but there are already signs that we are getting close. Google, of course, has built Glass, which shows data such as navigation routes when users call it up. Microsoft, meanwhile, is working on HoloLens, which would show users hologram-like images overlaid on the objects they see in real life.
Unfortunately, though, there are limitations to Google's Terminator vision. According to the patent, the data provided through this Terminator-style view could only work for objects "within a pre-defined local environment," so this would only work in locations where Google Glass already has the information for every object that's there.
But don't hold your breathe for Terminator vision. Patent applications only give us a look into the technology companies like Google are thinking about, not necessarily products that will come to market. Companies like Google, Apple and others submit patents all the time, and the majority of them do not turn into finished, consumer-ready products.