IBM Files Patent Application for Location-based Augmented Reality Game Control

In yet another innovative step towards blockchain technology, major IT company IBM has filed a new patent application aiming to deter augmented reality (AR) game players from intruding on undesirable locations (e.g., high risk areas, culturally sensitive locations, locations marked by property owners).

In the patent, IBM, also known as Big Blue, describes a blockchain-based method and system of interactions between an AR-running mobile device and locational database to set and maintain safe boundaries between AR objects and real-world physical locations. Also, a distributed ledger is configured to continuously maintain a growing list of data records protected from forgery and alterations.

As stated in the application, the ‘exemplary method’ would allow mobile devices to obtain a location using its first sensor and then access a first locational database responsive to the location of the mobile device.

The patent document further elaborated, “The exemplary method further includes retrieving from the first locational database an augmented reality object; obtaining an indication that the location of the mobile device is an undesirable location and modifying the augmented reality object responsive to the indication that the location of the mobile device is an undesirable location. The exemplary method also includes displaying the modified augmented reality object at a display of the mobile device.”

AR applications instill an additional, virtual level of ‘reality’ to our environs. The emergence and popularity of the AR app Pokemon Go in 2016 most probably highlighted the potential of these games. And at the same time, the disadvantages.

IBM hopes that the new blockchain patent will ensure a guarantee of ‘trust’ between real-world locations and location-based AR games.

According to a recent survey, IBM stands second after China’s Alibaba in terms of the number of patent applications. With 90 and 89 blockchain patents respectively, Alibaba and IBM become the world’s top two largest providers of blockchain-related patent technologies.

Besides IBM and Alibaba, other firms are also getting associated with blockchain and exploring how the blockchain can be used across diverse sectors. Last month, Sony announced the development of a digital rights management (DRM) platform based on blockchain technology and designed to protect the intellectual copyright of content creators. The DRM solution also strives to trace IP including ebooks, music, films, and virtual reality software. Recently again, Sony informed that the firm has developed a contactless cryptocurrency hardware wallet using IC smart card technology.

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