IBM is setting the standard as world leaders for blockchain deployment. Many top companies go to IBM for consultation on how to build, maintain and deploy distributed ledgers, and they have 89 patents outstanding in relation to blockchain technology. Their most recent patent has extended beyond blockchain and concerns augmented reality (AR). The AR blockchain patent from IBM is concerned with people “intruding on undesirable locations”.
A blockchain-based augmented reality Patent
IBM is among the first companies to file a patent relating to both AR and blockchain. The patent was filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on November 1st and aims to clearly define the boundaries between sensitive physical locations and people operating devices with augmented reality objects. As per the patent, a distributed ledger is used to keep track of the information so that nobody can alter the records. The patent itself is more concerned with deterring players from intruding on sensitive locations using sensors – the data itself is going to be kept on the blockchain so it cannot be altered.
“It is important for the system to verify/validate any location related transaction. Accordingly, the method includes tracking or verifying recommended locations, labels, or tags using a location/label/tag blockchain-based system. The blockchain system securely tracks, stores, and maintains location related transactions along with other location metadata”
Only Chinese company Alibaba (90) has filed more blockchain patents than IBM (89), and these two companies lead the pack by a significant margin (Security First Corp has 64 Microsoft has 40). While there have been claims that some companies (most notably banks) seem to be filing blockchain patents as PR stunts, some of these patents are going to prove extremely beneficial in future to companies who file them early. There is already considerable evidence of a blockchain patent war taking place.
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality is the superimposition of data objects in the physical environment. The best example of this would be the Pokemon Go phenomenon, where people flocked to locations in order to catch Pokemon that showed up on their smartphones. It has many applications and is almost certainly going to permeate mainstream society, much like virtual reality (VR).
However, it will also give rise to multiple ethical concerns. For example, developers will probably be liable for leading people into dangerous locations. There are also concerns for local people, who may not want trespassers and may not want their area associated with graphic or comical content, especially in religious or colloquial regions. Like the DLT industry itself, considerable case law is going to be required to establish the ethical responsibilities of developers, marketers, and players, but the industry is likely going to evolve much faster than the laws and regulations.
Digital Nomad with an interest in Zen and Blockchain technology.
Law graduate with 3 years experience as a consultant in the capital markets industry and 4 years experience freelancing on UpWork as a Creative Writer.