Sony's Latest Patent Application Shows Its Smart Specs Could Rival Google Glass


NEW YORK— Sony's recently published patent application shows that the electronics giant is making progress toward a smart eyeglass that could rival Google Glass. The patent application, filed March 21, is a continuation of a U.S. patent for a “head-mounted display apparatus” granted to Sony on December 18, 2012.

Unlike Google Glass, which has an electronic display mounted in front of one eye, Sony’s HMD design shows displays mounted behind the lenses in both eyes. The displays would feature a horizontal adjustment relative to the optical center of each lens as well as a vertical adjustment. The eyeglass would be equipped with earbuds that protrude from small arms attached to the eyeglass temples.

Sony has yet to disclose any plans to commercialize the device. However, the patent application is the latest in a series of applications the company has filed, including one in June, 2012 that described a smart glass-type product that that would allow wearers to capture and share personal information with others wearing the same glasses. According to that patent application, wearers could glance at each other and transmit the information to lens-like display panels mounted in front of their eyes.

The system could also pick up information from visual tags mounted on “stationary objects such as posters, signboards, guide plates for various types of facilities, walls of buildings, doors, windows, trees, moving objects such as cars and railroad trains, commercial products in stores, and animals such as dogs and cats.” The system could also include an optional wrist-watch display, and could be mounted on a pair of conventional eyeglasses, according to Sony.