Patents are a good information resource for obtaining the state of the art of technology innovation insights. Patents that specifically describe the major technology filed of a specific technology innovation are a good indicator of the technology innovation status in a specific innovation entity. A patent counting for growth in patenting over a period of times can be a good measuring tool for monitoring the evolution of technology innovation. Patents also can provide many valuable insights that can be exploited for developing and implementing new technologies/ products/services. Patents also can be exploited to identify new use cases/applications development opportunities.
Roblox Patents for Metaverse Game Platform
Roblox is a developer of the metaverse game platform that allows users to program games and play games created by other users.To find the technology innovation status of Roblox, a key player in metaverse game platform development, patent applications of Roblox as of September 1, 2020 are searched and reviewed. Total of 91 published patent applications (include 56 granted patents) in the USPTO and WIPO are selected for detail analysis. Figure 1 shows the Roblox patent application landscape with respect to the key technology innovation field. As shown in the figure, Virtual Item/Object is the most innovated technology followed by User Collaboration/Networking, Virtual Environment, Game Search, User Interaction/Relation Management, Data, Management, Mobile Connection, Game Assessment, Virtual Reality, Electronic Payment, Game Character, AI Application, Cybersecurity, Game Resource Management, Interactive Multimedia System, Multi-Player Game System, User Privacy, Virtual Camera, Audio Processing, Game Accessory, Game Controller , GUI, Online Advertising, Virtual Experience, and Web Search Optimization.
Figure 1. Roblox patent application landscape with respect to the key technology innovation field.
Apple Patents for XR (Extended Reality) Devices
Figure 2 shows the potential features of Apple XR devices that are under development based on Apple’s related patents. As shown in the figure, Apple XR devices can be a pair of glasses with the modular configurations that allow a user to easily customize. 3D display can scan images, pixel by pixel, and project directly onto the user’s retinas. Eye-tracking control for detecting position and movements of a user’s eyes enables gaze tracking to control the device without using touch. 3D spatial audio for auralization of virtual environments in real-time simulates the feeling of a real-world environment to heighten immersive experiences.
Figure 2. Insight from patents for the potential features of Apple XR devices.
Patents for Metaverse Platform Development
We researched metaverse patents that can provide innovation insights for the metaverse platform development.
3D Metaverse Space Development-3D Rendering:
3D rendering enables a creation of a metaverse space (digital scene). In integration with XR technology, 3D rendering creates a link between reality and virtuality and enhances people’s sense of immersive experience in a metaverse space for a variety of metaverse applications. A Samsung Electronics patent US20210074052 illustrates a 3D rendering method to effectively sample points in a 3D scene and to more quickly perform a 3D rendering with a low complexity without a decrease in a quality of a rendering result image. A neural network-based deep learning model is trained on results obtained by simulations of various rendering conditions through a training process, and a 3D rendering is performed using the trained deep learning model during a real 3D rendering.
3D Metaverse Space Development-2D to 3D Translation:
Metaverse is a new way for people to use the internet by transforming it from 2D to 3D. If we can translate 2D webpage into a 3D space and web content into 3D objects, users can walk around inside and interact with other users. Users can interact with the web content virtually and immerse themselves in the virtual space. A Janus Vr Inc patent US20190005716 illustrates a method for translating a legacy 2D web page into a 3D virtual reality immersive space. While web pages were originally designed to represent a 3D real-world, all web contents are generally laid out in as regions on a 2D page using a HTML. Conventional approaches to add spatiality to the internet are to essentially adapt HTML and Document Object Model (DOM) to represent a 3D space. The DOM is a programming API for HTML documents. It defines the logical structure of documents and the way a document is accessed and manipulated. A solution is to extract DOM elements from the legacy web page and place DOM elements into the 3D VR immersive space.
3D Metaverse Object Development-2D to 3D Conversion:
Metaverse experience platform supports use of virtual 3D objects that mimic physical objects within a 3D virtual space. Users can design and introduce various categories of virtual objects, e.g., products and vehicles. Users also can create, design, and/or customize new objects. A Roblox patent US20220068007 illustrates a method for 3D objects from corresponding 2D images within a virtual environment. Prior approaches cannot make the metaverse experience platform operators accurate, timely, and computationally efficient for generation of 3D object representations that are usable within a virtual environment. The trained machine learning models to generate automatically a 3D reconstruction as a useable and practical 3D object from 2D images of an object can be used.
Interactive Experience Design-Multi-Sensory Perception:
Multi-sensory data (visual, auditory, olfactory, tasting, and tactile), in combination with 3D visualization of a variety of humans and objects, can be used to create a comprehensive user-specific platform which can be used to simulate the real-life experience an individual end-user would have with the local environment and various objects contained within it. US20190011700 illustrates a customizable 3D interactive visualization method and multi-sensory system. Primary sensory input is visual in nature, and the use of 3D techniques to produce 3D visualization of a variety of subject matter including humans and objects is not yet commonplace. By integrating the computerized multi-sensory technologies (e.g., biological sensors, image-capturing devices and environmental sensors) with 3D virtual imagery (i.e., holograms), one can effectively create a virtual human, capable of experiencing a myriad of user and context-specific sensory interactions with the local environment.
Virtual Product Development-NFT Digital Assets:
A non-fungible token (NFT) for representing a digital good (asset) can be associated with a physical good. For example, NFTs allow users to create or purchase digital fashion goods (clothing, shoes, hats, watches, jewelry, and so forth) from sellers, where the digital goods can be used, store, or exchange by the user. These digital goods can be stored within a standard Web3 wallet (e.g. MetaMask). A Nike patent US20200273048 illustrates a secured digital goods for retail products. Within the digital realm, anti-counterfeiting techniques than can help identify counterfeit digital goods and to prevent illicit sales of such counterfeits are essential. Counterfeits complicate a brand owner’s ability to control the exclusivity of a digital goods, and thus, have influence regarding the value of that goods. For a purchase of an authentic, tangible good, a corresponding digital good with a unique physical good ID code of the physical good linked to a unique owner ID code of the buyer can be provided using ERC 721 or ERC1155 NFT to access, breed, and transact the digital good.
Patents for Metaverse Application Development
We researched metaverse patents that can provide innovation insights for the metaverse application development.
Metaverse Retail Shopping Development:
A Walmart patent US20180121997 illustrates a virtual shopping environment that avatar representing the user can interact with a certain type of 3D virtual products (apparel, shoes, watches, jewelry, cosmetics, etc.). The customer can input measurements of the customer’s body scan to show how the customer avatar appears in conjunction with a specific product (virtual fitting/make-up try-on). The customer’s avatar can be displayed in conjunction with the selected items via a virtual (smart) mirror with a panoramic 360 degree viewing. Each virtual product can be liked with NFT for additional services. Real-time contextual data for the customer can be used for providing a gaming incentive (gamification) or personalized product recommendation (through AI avatar).
Metaverse Automotive Showroom Development:
Volvo Car patent US20210304500 illustrates a virtual showroom environment that allows a consumer to virtually visit a showroom and receive detailed vehicle information in a variety of manners. A consumer may use augmented reality to highlight a vehicle and receive information regarding it. A consumer may walk through a guided showroom tour or walk through an interactive showroom tour. Another user can be invited into the tour as well.
Metaverse Tour Development:
A Doubleme patent US20200133618 illustrates a mixed-reality environment visualizations and interactive immersions for remotely-located virtual visitors to a physical tour place (museums, exhibits etc.). The remote virtual visitors are provided with computer graphics-generated real-time mixed-reality environments through the physical visitor’s perception to participate in the immersive and interactive visitor experiences to the physical tour place. The computer-generated lifelike holographic objects are high-resolution three-dimensional synthetic objects that are intermixed and/or juxtaposed to real physical objects, wherein a viewer immersed in the mixed-reality environment is often unable to distinguish the synthetic nature of the computer-generated lifelike holographic objects and the real physical objects provided by the mixed-reality environment.
Metaverse Meeting Development:
A Katmai Tech Holdings patent US10979672 illustrates a web-based videoconference 3D virtual environment with navigable avatars. Every user can control their avatars to move around, look around, jump or do other things which change the position or orientation. A virtual camera shows the user the virtual 3D environment and the other avatars. The avatars of the other users have as an integral part a virtual display, which shows the webcam image of the user. The 3D virtual environment includes a venue or building in which the videoconference should take place and 3D models for light sources, decorative modes, speaker models and a presentation screen models etc. Giving users a sense of space and allowing users to see each other’s faces through their avatars can provide a more social experience than conventional web conferencing.
Metaverse Smart Factory Development:
A SAEC/Kinetic Vision patent US20210004076 illustrates an AI innovation platform that provides a virtual AI development and testing environment. In the metaverse virtual AI development processes, AI model training data, system validation, system deployment, and system testing can be performed within a real-time 3D virtual environment incorporating objects, camera systems, sensors and digital human avatars representing the collaborating developers (who can interact using AR/VR/MR devices). The virtual 3D spatial environment can be networked with external computer resources and their digital twins to simulate the end-use environment of the AI system. This environment can include various sub-systems that feed data into the AI system. This data can be captured and utilized to train and validate the AI system, which can then itself be deployed into the same real-time virtual environment. Finally, real-time motion capture techniques and human actors can be used to drive humanoid avatars within the virtual environment.
Metaverse is a new digital revolution that combines physical and digital space to form an immersive and augmented metaverse space. Metaverse has the potential to become a multitrillion-dollar part of the world economy. Patents are a good information resource for obtaining the state of the art of technology innovation insights. Our analysis of the published patent applications regarding the metaverse technology and applications in the USPTO can provide insights about present and future of metaverse innovation.
TechIpm, LLC is a professional consulting and incubating firm in digital technology innovation and related IP development. TechIPm’s current focus is to develop a metaverse enterprise platform and its applications in ESG/sustainability digital transformation (e.g., next generation solution for dynamic carbon net-zero management). TechIPm’s business includes technology/IP analysis & development, technology commercialization & monetization, strategic business development and project management in the field of AI, blockchain, IoT, big data, cybercecurity, digital twins, sustainability and metaverse.
Alex G. Lee, Ph.D., Esq., is a CEO and principal consultant at TechIPm, LLC. Alex is an emerging IT/digital technology innovation and sustainable business strategy expert with 30 years experience in the High tech industry. Alex is, a partner at Vincula Group, a New York State attorney, a US patent attorney and a CLP (Certified Licensing Professional). Alex is also a founder of the online forums: Enterprise/Industrial Metaverse Forum and ESGDX Forum. Alex holds a Ph.D. degree in physics from the Johns Hopkins University, a J.D. degree from the Suffolk University Law School and executive certificate in strategy and innovation from MIT Sloan School of Management.