Updated: 22nd November 2017

Is Samsung cooking up a smart helmet to take on Microsoft HoloLens?

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly showing off the HoloLens.
Image: nasa/getty

Samsung bet correctly on virtual reality with the Gear VR and now the headset has become the best way to get a mobile VR experience.

But what’s next? There’s no guarantee that any rising tech trend will be more than a passing fad, but that’s also the beauty of technology it could be a big hit or a complete flop.

A new trademark filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), discovered by SamMobile, suggests Samsung could be working on some kind of smart helmet.

The trademark reveals a logo and name (which may or may not ever be used) called “Ahead.”

Image: USPTO

The logo doesn’t reveal much in the way of the product itself, but the description for the trademark provides a small tease.

According to the April 25filing, the trademark is for a “wearable telecommunication machines [sic] and implements in the shape of a helmet namely mobile phones, smartphones and cellphones.” It’s an “audio and visual apparatus” that includes “MP3 player functions… MP4… ear phones… digital camera… camcorders… wearable computer….”

Just what is Samsung’s cooking up?

At the height of Google Glass’ popularity (and dorkery), it was rumored many times the company would release its own “Galaxy Glass” as a competitor. But after Google Glass flopped and fizzled out of the limelight, Samsung’s own smart glasses project fell silent. We haven’t heard any new rumblings of a Samsung Glass-like rival.

And with Gear VR making real inroads with customers, Samsung would be foolish to try to resurrect a wearable headset people already associate with tech douchebaggery.

The other option, a stretch as it may be, is more logical and relevant. Whatever “Ahead” is could be a Microsoft HoloLens rival a mixed reality headset that uses augmented reality to superimpose digital information on top of the real world.

Samsung, always on the lookout for the next big thing, would be stupid to not at least be exploring a HoloLens-like headset.

Microsoft’s HoloLens, available now to developers, costs $3,000. Unless Microsoft drastically reduces the price on the consumer version, that’s going to be a steep barrier for a lot of hologram enthusiasts (and holographic Minecraft gamers).

As impressive (and unimpressive) as HoloLens is, Windows Holographic and the success of mixed reality headsets will hinge on developer support and cheaper gear.

Microsoft already knows this, which is why the company is allowing other companies to build HoloLens-like headsets. PC maker Asus has already confirmed it’s building its own HoloLens headset.

Samsung, always on the lookout for the next big thing, would be stupid to not at least be exploring a HoloLens-like headset.

As always, a trademark (or patent filing) doesn’t confirm any products that will launch in the future, but at the very least, it tickles our fantasies for a world inspired by the technologies seen in science fiction films.

BONUS: What it’s like to use Microsoft’s HoloLens IRL:

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