Amazon may be working on special smart glasses that let you watch movies

Jeff bezosDavid Ryder/Getty ImagesAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Soon you may be able to watch Prime videos through special smart glasses made by Amazon.

According to Recode, Amazon was granted a patent for a new kind of eyewear that lets users connect to a display device, like a tablet or TV, and watch the content right through the lens of the glasses.

The patent says a quick tap on the device will let the user switch back and forth between watching what’s playing on the device to what’s in the real world, meaning there might be potential for Hololens-like capability where it shows virtual images in a real-life setting.

“The electronic device controls the variable-transparency layer to operate in a first state in which the variable-transparency layer is transparent and to operate in a second state in which the variable-transparency layer is opaque. The electronic device switches between the second state and the first state in response to a single-touch event detected by the electronic device,” the patent said.

It’s unclear what exactly Amazon plans to do with this new patent. Amazon wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Hype and challenges

High-tech glasses and headsets have attracted a lot of attention from the big tech players in recent years. Facebook bought virtual reality headset maker Oculus for $US2 billion last year, while Microsoft recently showed off its own virtual reality headset Hololens. Other device makers like Samsung, HTC, and ODG are also in this space.

Google famously struggled with Google Glass, but is now trying to revamp the product under the new Project Aura banner.

“Everybody’s trying to get in this space, and I think this is an effort for Amazon to get ahead of and expand those touch points that consumer want,” Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen told us. “Augmented and virtual reality, these are immersive technology, and this is will be the future of how consumers interface with the world around us.”

It’s worth remembering however that TV makers tried to convince consumers to put on special glasses for 3D television sets a few years ago — an effort that failed miserably. The takeaway back then was that people didn’t want to have to put glasses on just to watch TV.

Here are a couple prototype drawings of the smart glass Amazon included in its patent filing:

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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