PayPal's AR Patent Points To The Immersive Future Of Retail

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FILE – This March 10, 2015, file photo, shows signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif. After a tax ruling against Apple on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, the spotlight turns to dozens of companies that have boosted earnings taking advantage of low tax rates abroad. One such company who benefitted in 2015 was PayPal Holdings. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Digital payment giant proposes “look and buy” shopping experience.

Much has been made of augmented reality’s potential to revolutionize retail — allowing consumers to interact with the shopping experience in unprecedented ways.

In a recently approved patent titled, “Augmented Reality View of Product Instructions” — originally reported by CNBC — PayPal depicts a future wherein, using a pair of AR glasses linked to PayPal accounts, consumers would be able to purchase items by looking at the product and navigating a subsequent menu.


Schematic of PayPal’s AR infrastructure

“In a system for presenting augmented reality views of product instructions a method may include receiving a request from a client device, the request including image data,” PayPal writes in the patent. “The method may further include identifying an object in the image data and generating an augmented reality view of the identified object. The method may further include transmitting the augmented reality view to the client device.”

In other words, the process would be capable of collapsing object identification, selection, and purchasing — with massive potential here for personalized advertising and previsualization. When you factor in the impact of eye tracking and iris authentication, the shopping experience that felt so futuristic in Minority Report suddenly feels a lot more close to home.

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