Photos: 10 cool virtual reality patents from the past 25 years
Image 1 of 10
Optical system for virtual reality helmet
The patent for this virtual reality helmet was filed in 1993. The patent summary describes an improved field of view and image quality (compared to what, it doesn’t say), adjustable lenses, and a second set of lenses.
Data-suit for real-time computer animation and virtual reality applications
This patent, filed in 1997, described in its abstract plans for a data suit for the purpose of real-time computer animation of cartoon and virtual-reality characters.
Visual field perimetry using virtual reality glasses
These patent filers back in 1998 were thinking about how virtual reality glasses could be used to map a patient’s field of vision and potentially diagnose vision problems.
Virtual reality generator for use with financial information
This patent had less to do with hardware and focused on a system that would bring “financial information” into a “virtual reality generator” and subsequently display it in a virtual reality environment. Though it was filed in 1994, the concept has popped up again, fairly recently.
Virtual reality system for treating patients with anxiety disorders
Doctors have been using virtual reality for exposure therapy for quite a few years now — this patent is intended for just that. A patient could wear a headset and use the system to simulate situations that would otherwise be triggers for anxiety, like flying, but with far more control than in the real world.
Virtual reality headset
For all the patents that never quite panned out, check out this one — it’s the patent for the Oculus Rift, filed in part by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and CEO Brendan Iribe.
Virtual reality GTAW and pipe welding simulator and setup
One potential use for virtual reality is in skills training. This 2013 patent is for a VR welding simulator, which would include the welding mask as the headset.
Virtual reality glove system with fabric conductors
Here’s a 1996 patent for a data glove for use with a computer system or virtual reality system.
Virtual reality interactivity system and method
Check out this intense getup for a VR interactivity system. Filed in 2004, the patent description talks about creating awareness for the VR user’s physical environment.
Scalable virtual world chat client-server system
In present day, multiple companies are taking a shot at social virtual reality. This patent filed in 1996 shows a virtual world — something chatroom-esque, where users could interact through avatars in real time in a “three-dimensional, computer-generated graphical space.” The best thing about this patent? Penguin avatars.