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Verizon Files Patent For Virtual Reality Phone System

Verizon Files Patent For Virtual Reality Phone System

Let’s face it, there are still too many things that can’t be done without removing the HMD’s from our faces, even something as simple as calling a friend (or ordering a pizza, mmm).

In hopes of keeping you immersed in your VR experience, Verizon was issued a patent yesterday that allows you to make calls while using VR to those who are not. Although Verizon is far from being the first to implement this idea (see: HTC Vive Phone Service), what is new is how it’s done.

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Instead of scrolling through a list of contacts, your contacts are represented as objects, such as picture frames, in the space that you’re in. You can call them by simply touching the objects, and they will be represented as an avatar once the call is established.

HTC’s Vive Phone Service was a decent idea that was added shortly before the Vive’s launch, but it felt half-baked and a bit shoehorned into the SteamVR’s feature-heavy menu. Designing a more natural way of contacting people in the real world (ie: talking to a person face-to-face) leads to a much simpler and yet novel user experience.

As for the technical details of how it would all work, it seems for now that the system is based on placing calls through their LTE telephone network, but Verizon’s recent adoption of VoIP and Wifi Calling on iOS and Android would suggest that they’re not tied to old habits. Of course, companies patent things all the time that never make it to consumers. Don’t expect Verizon to enable VR calls soon, but the patent does show the company is at least exploring the concept.

Being immersed in an experience has its merits, but most of the time when you’re blowing up ships in Hoverjunkers or slicing through another set of fruits in Ninja Trainer, you might want to let your friend know that you’ll be late to their party (because you’re busy, obviously). Soon, it’ll be easier than ever to do that.

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