Wearables and Augmented Reality patents through a KMX lense

06 October, 2014

Wearables with Augmented Reality

It is Google’s flagship product expected to become massive in the market this year.  With Google Glass, the Mountain View California based company broke into the global market for wearable and augmented reality technologies.

The associated technology is widely known as Wearable computing technology. “Wearables” are those differently-shaped devices easily adaptable to our clothes and bodies and provided with local processing and storage computing capacities, capacities for communication and collaboration with the environment and for real-time access to information.

Google Glass also includes an emerging technology broadly known as “augmented reality” (AR).  AR enables interacting with the real world environment together with computer generated sensory input.  AR technologies are attractive not only for Google, but also for its competitors; Microsoft has recently acquired new patents on AR technologies that incorporate 3D motion sensors, thus is also trying to ensure its presence in this potentially highly profitable market.

Guest blog by: Elicet Cruz PhD. of IFI Claims partner IALE Tecnologia (Spain). IALE used the data from Treparel’s partner IFI Claims and the KMX technology to provide more insights wearables and Augmented Reality (AR).

What other products are included with wearable computing?

Among the most commercialized wearable devices are Smart watches (Apple’s iWatch, Samsung’s Gear Live, LG’s G Watch, …), glasses (Google Glass), contact lenses and smart fabrics, screens and small computers, hearing devices (Jawbone, Personics labs), smart shoes (Nike Fitband), intelligent fashion bracelets and rings (CuffLinc™ bracelet), etc.

Wearable computing is already affecting many domains such as fashion, education, transportation, gaming and music, health, aging, disability, among others. The market for wearable devices is estimated to reach $12.6 billion by 2018, according to Statista 2014. 

Market estimates of Wearable devices 2018 Source.: Statista

Market estimates of Wearable devices 2018 Source.: Statista

What is patented in wearable computing and augmented reality?

A general comprehensive search on wearable devices in the Claims Direct Global Database, from IFI Claims casts 35,755 patent documents filed during the last 10 years (2004-2014). In the same period 2,913 patents have been identified on devices (not wearable) including augmented reality, and 140 patents on wearable technology devices including “augmented reality” (purple color in Figure 3).
Patents on wearable devices integrated with augmented reality technology. Source: IFI Claims Global Database

Patents on wearable devices integrated with augmented reality technology. Source: IFI Claims Global Database

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We have also processed the studied set of patents with the KMX Patent Analytics tool from Treparel Information Solutions. KMX provides clustering, visualization and auto-classification of patents, based on the patent text, through a process of iterative labeling and Support Vector Machine based machine learning. The resulting visualization offers a landscape map representing the main topics in the patent set (Figure 6). In the central part of the figure, for example, a main topic area with documents (black dots) related to glasses and ambient images is appreciated. Just above, another group of documents refers to improved optical flow; other differentiated topic areas include speech, visual markers, virtual items selection, etc.

Patent Clusters and Topic Labels. Source: IFI Claims Global Database, developed with KMX.

Patent Clusters and Topic Labels. Source: IFI Claims Global Database, developed with KMX.

Read the full blogpost on the website of IFI CLAIMS.

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