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Microsoft patent points to augmented reality glasses

Microsoft patent points to augmented reality glasses

Microsoft's patent describes a wearable computing system that overlays additional information over a real-world view using transparent displays - could a Project Glass competitor be in the works?

Microsoft has applied for a patent which suggests the company is looking to branch out from games consoles and tablets and into wearable computing, taking on Google's upcoming Project Glass head-mounted computer system with an augmented reality creation of its own.

A patent filing spotted by Unwired View points to a head-mounted computing system which combines an integrated camera with a head-mounted display for overlaying additional information on a real-world live view - Terminator-vision for the masses, in other words.

Unlike Google's Project Glass, which is a lightweight system designed to provide much of the functionality of an Android smartphone or tablet in a head-up display, the Microsoft version has a more specific focus. According to the patent filing, the system would be worn during live events - concerts, sports, lectures and the like - in order to provide a live, constantly-updated stream of supplemental information.

The system should be transparent to the user, Microsoft claims. 'A user wearing an at least partially see-through, head mounted display views the live event while simultaneously receiving information on objects, including people, within the user's field of view, while wearing the head mounted display,' the patent's abstract explains. 'The information is presented in a position in the head mounted display which does not interfere with the user's enjoyment of the live event.'

What sort of information does Microsoft have in mind? The patent describes the glasses as providing everything from live translation of speech or text to instant replays of sports plays, all available live and without taking your eyes off the main action - an issue with existing accessories like tablets and smartphones, the company claims.

Augmented reality isn't new, of course: the military has been using head-up displays that can overlay targeting information for years, while commercial versions are seeing increasing traction in educational and industrial fields. Most cameraphone platforms have apps available which overlay information on a real-world view, from translation to navigation directions. Microsoft's vision for the technology goes further, however, and its use of transparent displays should mean a more immersive experience - and one that doesn't require you to take your eyes off the action.

What the patent application lacks, naturally enough, is a hint as to when - or even if - the company is thinking about bringing a product to market. Should Google's Project Glass prove popular, however, it's easy to imagine Microsoft launching Surface Glasses to compete in yet another arena with its long-time rival.

10 Comments

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mi1ez 23rd November 2012, 13:22 Quote
That's pretty awesome!
Shirty 23rd November 2012, 14:08 Quote
edzieba 23rd November 2012, 15:15 Quote
How in the FLYING **** do they think they can get a patent for an AR display? The patent is for "A system and method to present a user wearing a head mounted display with supplemental information when viewing a live event". As opposed to a non-live event? The whole point of AR is to overlay information over the real world (i.e. 'live'). I bloody hope this application gets rejected, because it is neither new or novel in the slightest.
mi1ez 23rd November 2012, 15:59 Quote
I feel I ought to elaborate on my comment now!

The idea of having the extra overlay at a sports event is pretty cool. AR replays!
Snips 23rd November 2012, 22:32 Quote
The Nokia 920 WindowsPhone8 has a brilliant augmented mapping system already.
LordPyrinc 23rd November 2012, 22:35 Quote
Can they demonstrate a functional prototype that actually works as the patent states? If not, the patent should not have been approved.
Griffter 24th November 2012, 06:03 Quote
patent to stop any and all from doing the same, non-invention and has been seen in movies for years, so how is this unique and noval? can i go get a patent for walking pls. with "walking" the user can be transported to any location on the planet in real-world ways.
Mighty Yoshimi 25th November 2012, 08:10 Quote
Clever lawyers suing the hell out of each other and they can't even think about patenting, as others have said an idea that's been around for decades.
DriftCarl 26th November 2012, 13:22 Quote
Sounds Watchdogs demo, where the player gets all the info on people in his view above the actual person.
The future is here already
The fonz 26th November 2012, 15:39 Quote
Augmented reality the way the tech world is now headed. It will be interesting to see what comes out over the next few years. I expect some really amazing gadgetry
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