If you are curious to know what the major mobile manufacturers might have in tow for us, look no further than the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The companies usually file a number of patent applications each week and the USPTO is the institution that has to grant them these patents.
If you delve a little deeper, you might easily uncover some rather interesting patents and blueprints, which represent avant-garde technologies, ideas, and concepts. Still, a big portion of these will forever remain only reference designs, but there are some that will actually see the light of day and enter mass production.
Indeed, taking a peek at the patent applications and the conceptual blueprints might actually reveal a lot of things. You might, for example, notice a reference design for the exterior of an upcoming smartphone, take a glimpse at its ingenious and unorthodox user interface, or even spot a smart gadget that you might wear on your head some day.
Exploring the USPTO is like taking a glimpse into the future – although uncertain, it is still fascinating.
In this line of thought, our curiosity made us take a sneak peek at some of the patent applications, recently filed with the USPTO. We managed to detect some rather interesting ones and although we can't cover all of them for you, we will try to distunguish some of the more compelling patents in the gallery below.
1. Sony's head-mounted device
Sony might be working on a Google Glass competitor, as the company filed a patent application for a head-mounted display, which is nothing else but smart glasses. However, there is a twist with these. The gadget, which Sony wants to patent, allows its users to freely twist the temples of the wearable and comfortably adapt them to the shape of their heads.
According to Sony's application, the displays of the smart glasses that come with fixed shape might cause image blurriness for some users. By being deformable to some extent, Sony's conceptual wearable would reduce any inconvenient image distortions on the dual displays of the smart glasses.
2. Apple's two-sided phone
Apple received a patent for a rather interesting mobile device – a smartphone with transparent housing and "a flexible display assembly enclosed within the transparent housing". That's right, this means that the rear of the device would act as a screen, as well.
The patent application states that almost all mobile devices come with "flat planar form factor" and although their fronts house big touchscreen displays, the rear and the sides remain mostly unused. It seems that Apple might be interested in expandind the functionality of its mobile devices by improving their form factor and utilizing the remaining space that remains unusued.
3. Samsung's bendable display
Although we've alredy seen bendable displays in action, Samsung might be working on an innovative user interface, designed for such flexible screens. A patent application, issued by the Korean company, tells us that this method allows users to start an app by simply bending the display in a specific place and either tilting it at a predefined angle or simply returning it into its default position.
Of course, this UI method requires a bendable display in the first place, but we know that Samsung already has such in tow – the company demoed the flexible YOUM screen at CES 2013
4. LG's head-mounted display
LG might be preparing its own smart glasses, too. The Korean manufacturer has filed a patent application for a head-mounted display, which does not only allow you to use it as smart glasses, but as a remote control for varios external gadgets, as well. LG says that the head-worn wearable has a camera, which tracks the position of your head and allows you to control various functions of the interface with different gestures. It is also implied that the temples of LG's conceptual wearable detect peripheral hand motions, such as waiving your hand in the air.
5. Samsung's lip-tracking feature
Samsung might be working on an innovative interface, which tracks the user's lips and uses the collected data to further improve the interaction between you and your mobile device. This method is touted as being accurate regardless of the current position of your head. The patent application for this lips recognition feature says that it will most likely be used along with existing voice recognition methods.
The Korean company has already developed similar motion-detecting features, such as Smart Stay, Smart Pause, and Smart Scroll. In this line of thought, this lip recognition method might turn out to be an improvement to S Voice.
6. Samsung's solar-powered smartphone
Another patent, recently granted to Samsung, reveals that it might be working on a solar-powered smartphone. The description of Sammy's invention states that the phone comes with a solar cell, which supplies power to the battery of the device and charges it.
But what's even more interesting is that the solar cell will allow you to power on your device even if its battery is absent. If this is the case, you'll be able to perform some basic tasks on your smartphone for a limited time – make an emergency call, for example.
7. A less dorky version of Google Glass
Google could be working on a less dorky, toned-down version of the Google Glass wearable. The smart glasses come with a hate-it-or-love-it design and it seems that the tech giant is aware of that, as it has recently filed a patent application for a head-worn wearable with simplistic design.
The gizmo comes with dual "head-mounted displays" for both eyes, while the hardware of Google's invention is seemingly stuffed into the temples of the smart glasses. A small camera protruding from one of the sides is one of the few things, suggesting that this is, in fact, a smart wearable.
via: Latest Patents