It’s all in your head

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Apple, Meta and Google’s plans for a hands-free metaverse.

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Physical tracking seems to be a running theme here at Patent Drop. Today, we’re looking at companies that want to get inside your head: Google wants to read your brain waves, while Apple and Meta want to read your eyes. Why? For the metaverse of course. 

Let’s dive in.

#1. Google’s mind games 

Google wants to read your mind. 

The company seeks to patent technology that uses “quantum sensors” in AR and VR headsets to monitor “magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals” (a.k.a. brain activity) which could control extended reality applications. For example, a user might be able to control the movement of an extended reality avatar just by thinking about it. If you feel joy, that might trigger a “corresponding response” from an avatar to express it. 

Google has offered a range of extended reality headgear, ranging from its Daydream View headset to Google Glass to a headset made of literal cardboard. While Google hasn’t been as loud about its AR work as others (*cough cough* Meta *cough cough*), this patent application may signal that it’s ready to dive in deeper. And a hands-free user interface might be the way to garner more of the metaverse market, David Smith, founder and CTO of Croquet.io, told me. 

“The traditional approach that people have of keeping your arm up in the air and doing stuff doesn’t really work well,” said Smith. “They’re thinking about the problem the right way: They’re getting me away from putting my arm up there.”