Facebook has been granted a patent for an “artificial reality hat” — and it looks as ridiculous as it sounds.
On Tuesday, the US Patent and Trademark Office approved the patent, which was noticed by the intellectual property-focused law firm Founders Legal.
The concept from Facebook essentially melds a pair of smart glasses with a baseball cap by placing the lenses on the brim of the hat. The lenses can display virtual reality or augmented reality-based images. And when not in use, you can tuck the lenses under the hat’s brim, resulting in a normal baseball cap.
The patent itself notes eyewear-based artificial reality systems can be “thick, heavy and unbalanced,” while also generating excessive heat. “In addition, because these glasses or goggles are designed to be worn on the bridge of a user’s nose, it is often difficult to incorporate advanced computing components,” the document adds.
A hat, on the other hand, can hold more components and distribute the weight and heat over a greater surface area. This could include embedding a communication module and several cameras focused on eye-, face- and body-tracking into the resulting product. The hat could also vibrate when a notification is received.
The same hat could also work with a smartwatch or a glove-like device, enabling the wearer to interact with objects in the virtual world.
On the downside, the proposed cap looks silly. But the patent points out the technology could be applied to more stylish hats such as a visor or a fedora.
The patent was filed back in 2019 by Andrew Bosworth, the vice president for Facebook’s virtual and augmented reality division. So far, Facebook hasn’t commented on the patent. But it’s gearing up to launch a smart glasses product later this year. Facebook is also the company behind the Oculus VR headsets.