KEY POINTS

  • Facebook recently won a new patent for a pair of smart glasses
  • The device will feature technologies meant to give users a better viewing experience
  • The patent indicates the company's desire to overtake other companies in the smart glasses race

Facebook is racing against Apple, as well as other tech companies, to release viable AR glasses. A new patent shows the company is working on its own smart glasses, which will be very different from currently existing head-mounted display (HMD) devices, including its Oculus headsets.

The granted patent, titled “Pupil steering head-mounted display,” was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 14. It talks about certain techniques that the company plans to use to create a sleek pair of smart glasses that will offer a large field of view (FOV) and eye box despite having a small size.

In the patent, Facebook noted that in order for HMDs to give users the best viewing experience, they will need to feature large FOVs, higher display resolution, high brightness levels and so on.

A large FOV can be achieved by equipping the HMD with a large eye box. The use of a larger eye box, however, “may lead to a larger, heavier, more expensive, and less energy-effective system.”

The patented invention discusses several embodiments, all of them related to or focusing on enlarging the “effective size of an eye box of a near-eye display device,” which, in this case, is a pair of sleek smart glasses.

Facebook Smartglasses Facebook is working on this pair of smartglasses. Photo: Facebook/USPTO

The device will adjust the eye box, as well as other features necessary for the device to present essential details to the wearer, based on the location and/or shape of the pupil of the user's eye.

All of these features – the adjustable eye box, an image projector (configured to form an image of a computer-generated image on an image plane), a deflector located at the image plane (and designed to deflect light to a corresponding location) and many other parts and components – will all work together to provide the user with a large FOV.

While the new patent shows Facebook's plans with its smart glasses, it does not provide readers with an idea as to when the device will actually reach the market.

The social media company previously worked on prototypes showing its serious intent to be the first to release a pair of everyday HMD.