Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has filed for patents to make its vision of the metaverse a reality.
The company has received hundreds of patents over the past four months aimed at increasing the realism of its planned interactive virtual world, according to a review by Insider. New technology could allow a user’s avatar to pick up and put down items, for example, or wear clothes that wrinkle when moving. As Insider notes, there is no guarantee that the company will develop the new products, but they can be a good indication of its strategy.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the metaverse will be dominant in five to 10 years. However, as the experts tell Insider, there are plenty of challenges with virtual and augmented reality: uncomfortable headgear, the lack of things to actually do in the virtual world, and technology that isn’t moving fast enough. But Meta, who has long been an advocate for virtual reality, appears determined, despite concerns from privacy advocates about the project.
“This is the future I want and I’ll push to make it happen,” Zuckerberg said in October at the Connect 2021 opening, a VR / AR conference. Here are four things you may be able to do in the future.
1. Throw things at people and bring your laptop
Several patents show the company wants people to be able to realistically interact with objects in the Metaverse, which would be rendered in real time. The company also appears to want to allow people to toss, pinch, or otherwise engage with objects that exist in the metaverse, a feature called “gesture-based virtual content delivery and manipulation.” Another patented technology would allow users to bring a real-life object into the Metaverse. Imagine, for example, making a Zoom call with your laptop, while staying in the virtual world with your colleagues.
2. Do you look alike
One patent aims to “generate precise, lifelike clothes” that wrinkle as your avatar moves, with sensors that detect body movement to do so. Another is designed to create “avatar fidelity and personalization,” suggesting that Metaverse avatars might closely resemble their real-life counterparts.
3. Share your point of view
One patent focuses on something called “spectator images”. This would allow you to invite someone to share your take on something, like a live concert, even if they’re not there in person. Combine this with ‘student piloting’, which would track your eye movements and use them to orient you in the virtual world, and ‘notification triggers’ – notifications you can get rid of them just by looking at them – and your eyes have a lot of power in the metaverse.
4. Share even more data
As the Insider article notes, getting into the metaverse may require sharing even more personal data than you currently do. The new patents are designed to track everything from your eyes to body movements, all the data that Meta would then have access to. There were no patents regarding consumer safety or privacy in this batch, according to the review.
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