IBM applies patent for blockchain AR system for players

Singapore, SINGAPORE – Global tech conglomerate IBM has applied for a blockchain patent for a which aims to prevent augmented reality (AR) game players from “intruding on undesirable locations”.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released the patent document on Thursday where “undesirable locations” was cited as being “high risk locations, culturally sensitive locations, locations marked by property owners”, among others. The technology in which IBM seeks to patent aims to enhance the usage of AR in physical space. They describe a method that would calculate and maintain safe boundaries in the translation of AR into the physical world.

A neural network has been designed to cross-reference recorded data in the blockchain and player interactions, thus:

“Risk prediction can occur based on rules learned by the cognitive neural network from past transactions in the blockchain, for example, a pattern of many user movements combined with discrete results such as incident reports, complaints against users, etc.”

“By running the learned rules on more recent patterns of user movements, it is possible for the cognitive neural network to identify potential risks to users with varying degrees of confidence.”

Augmented reality is an interactive experience of a real-world environment whereby the objects that reside in the real-world are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information—sometimes across multiple sensory modalities. This means that an essential part of the experience involves players moving through real-world locations and interacting with the game at these locations, as mentioned in the patent application:

“One important aspect of a location-based augmented reality games is “trust” about real world locations.”

A popular example would be Pokemon GO, an AR mobile game which was developed and published by Niantic for iOS and Android devices released in 2016. Little more than a year later, a paper was published which detailed how Pokemon GO players have “caused millions in damages in 148 days”. Is it really worth catching ‘em all at that point?

Maybe IBM’s patent application might change that. It is still too early to tell however, it is a lengthy process and we could be looking at years before an actual product is released. This isn’t the first time IBM has dabbled in the blockchain space. The company currently stands just second to China’s Alibaba in number of filed blockchain patents.