The Korean Intellectual Property Office recently published Samsung’s patent application for an earphone that seems to be a compact Bluetooth headset and smart glass rolled into one whose shape quickly calls to mind a familiar object in Dragon Ball Z — the scouter.
Samsung’s patent application referred to the device as simply the “Earphone.”
Here are the illustrations lifted from Samsung’s patent application filing for “Earphone”:
Is it the rumored Samsung Galaxy Gear Glass redesigned? Or is it a design for an entirely new product? No one knows yet, but the two are quite different enough to justify being separate devices.
Samsung’s new application differs from the computerized eyewear, rumored to morph into the Samsung Gear Glass, that it patented in October last year. The said device had a pair of lenses, with buttons near the hinges, a camera, and a wire running along the temple — apparently for connecting to a smartphone or another mobile device.
The “Gear Glass” design looked clearly like a pair of glasses and would allow earphones to be integrated to enable users to make phone calls and listen to audio. In contrast, the “Earphone” looks like a headset with a display panel rather than a pair of glasses.
Like the one in Google Glass, the head-up device (HUD) attached to one of the lenses in Samsung’s sports eyewear stayed slightly above the wearer’s line of sight. In contrast, while the “Earphone” design also includes a foldable HUD extending from the earphone, the HUD is meant to sit directly in front of — or “obstruct” — the wearer’s line of sight.
Samsung’s “Gear Glass” patent also indicated that the HUD would “display alerts for information running on the phone, providing easy access to control when the users’ hands are tied with sports activities.” It is likely for the “Earphone’s” HUD to have the same or similar functions.
The “Earphone” design includes an in-ear earphone and an ear loop to keep the device in place and seems to be designed for wireless operation.
Both “Earphone” and “Gear Glass” designs should be able to work with and benefit from Samsung’s augmented reality (AR) keyboard solution, for which the company filed a patent last year at the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Korean Intellectual Property Office.
Among other recent Samsung patents is one for contact lenses with embedded micro cameras.