PayPal has just been granted a patent for displaying information on products through augmented reality. The patent, titled Augmented Reality View of Product Instructions, was filed last January and would enable users to see relevant information about a product using an AR headset or device.
The patent asserts that part of the goal is to help people figure out how to assemble and control the (increasingly complex) products that are purchased. “Today’s products are increasingly complex to setup and operate. Often, the products are accompanied with detailed instructions that may be daunting for a user to follow. In other cases, a user may discard instructions after an initial set up of a product."
Thus, the goal is to offer people assistance so that they can actually enjoy the products that they get, as opposed to fight with them for hours: "In each of these cases, the user’s ability to operate the product may be hampered by a lack of information about the product or an inability to use the product. This in turn may affect the user’s experience with the product and the user’s perception of the manufacturer of the product.”
The information includes product reviews, instructions, and recommended accessories.
With this patent, PayPal is looking to help make purchasing flows easier for consumers. The technology would presumably be able to identify objects and pull all pertinent information from the web to overlay onto the AR display.
The patent also hints at this being just the beginning. The technology has the potential to identify any physical object, not just those purchased with PayPal, and immediately get information on it (including how to purchase it online, most likely through PayPal).
For now, that’s just a pipe dream, seeing as this is only a patent and patents are filed all the time for technology that might never see the light of day.
One major hurdle in the way to making this product possible is the current limitations in computer vision. The ability to identify and recognize objects to get information on them is still being developed, but it is making huge leaps. So who knows what the (augmented) future will really look like.