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Is that BB-8 or a Samsung Bixby speaker? New patent shows crazy smart device

A camera, display, rotating head, seven speakers, stylus support, and USB and HDMI ports? What does this thing not have?

Published onJune 14, 2018

  • Bixby smart speaker patent shows device with rotating head, seven microphones, display, and a camera.
  • Patent filed in November 2017 with WIPO and granted in South Korea.
  • Samsung is expected to release its long-awaited Bixby-powered smart speaker in H2 2018.

Samsung’s long-in-gestation Bixby smart speaker is still something of a mystery, but if a newly uncovered patent is to be believed, the device may stand out among its rivals upon release thanks to a couple of fairly unique features.

The newly granted patent, first filed with the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) last November and discovered by LetsGoDigital, shows a device made up of two ellipsoids stacked on top of each other.

Bixby 2.0 confirmed for Samsung's next flagship, likely the Galaxy Note 9
Bixby on the Galaxy S9.

The top half, let’s call it the head, houses at least seven microphones and can rotate a full 360 degrees and pivot from side to side to track sounds around it. The patent images (below) show how the head moves to face a speaking subject, likely to improve the speaker’s voice recognition capabilities.

That’s not all, though. This envisioned smart speaker would also sport a display and a camera. The report claims the latter would be used to recognize specific users based on biometric data, while the display would show text, photos, and other media. Just in case that’s not enough, the patent also suggests that stylus pen input would be supported… somehow.

samsung bixby smart speaker patent

In addition, LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, USB, HDMI, and GPS connectivity are all referenced, hinting that you would be able to send local media to the smart speaker, perhaps to then output to another connected device.

As with any patent, it’s worth taking all of this with a massive pinch of salt. Major tech companies like Samsung file countless patents every month with many never going beyond the concept phase.

Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh hinted back at MWC 2018 that the company’s Bixby-powered smart speaker would hit the market in the second half of 2018, so we may not have long to wait until we see the final product.

What do you make of the patent? Am I the only one that thinks it looks like a squashed BB-8? Let us know in the comments!

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