Sony’s Virtual Reality Headset Rumors Roll On, Patent Filed

By Prarthito Maity , Updated Nov 08, 2013 09:34 AM EST
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Sony’s heavily rumored virtual reality headset is back in news with new reports revealing that the company has already filed related patents dealing with the development of such a VR headset.

The information was revealed after NeoGAF user "gofreak" located two different patents for the same device – one for the audio system, and another for a head mounted display (HMD). This seems like enough for fans to believe that Sony’s VR system – a rival for Oculus Rift – indeed exists.

As far as the audio aspect of the system is concerned, the patent for the same states that the audio system “comprises a headset comprising a pair of earpieces positionable with respect to the user’s ears so that, in use, the user is inhibited from hearing sounds from the user’s environment, at least one of the earpieces having a transducer for reproducing sounds from an input audio signal.”

Also, the patent shows that there’s a microphone present for “generating a captured audio signal representing captured sounds from the user’s environment; a detector for detecting the presence of any of a set of one or more characteristic sounds in the captured audio signal; and a controller operable to transmit sounds from the user’s environment to the user in response to a detection that one or more of the set of characteristic sounds is present in the captured audio signal.”

The patent for the audio system points at ways related to alerting a gamer to real-world emergencies, or even if an object is moving quickly towards the gamer’s head.

The patent for the HMD offers a frame that is mounted onto an observer’s head with “the frame defining one or two eye display positions which, in use, are positioned in front of a respective eye of the observer; a display element mounted with respect to each of the eye display positions, the display element providing a virtual image of a video display of a video signal from a video signal source to that eye of the observer.”

Similar to the audio interface, the HMD also comes with a motion detector for detecting motion of the observer’s head, alongside a “high-pass filter arranged to generate a higher frequency component and a lower frequency component of the detected motion, according to a threshold frequency associated with the response of the high-pass filter; and a controller for controlling the display of the video signal in dependence upon the detected head motion.

The HMD patent primarily discusses detection of head motion and image stabilization, apart from a lot of other things. However, the biggest thing on Sony’s mind, as of now, is the upcoming PlayStation 4, which is currently scheduled to release on Nov. 15 in North America and Nov. 29, 2013 in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

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