Microsoft may have been late to the tablet party, but if a recently-released patent filed by the company last year is anything to go by, it may be setting its sights on becoming an early player in the arena of augmented reality specs.
The Redmond-based computer company states in the patent that the specs would incorporate technology enabling a user to view supplemental information while watching a live event. So at a sports event, for example, stats and replays could be shown on the glasses, allowing you to keep your eye on the action instead of looking up at the big screen for the same information. Also, at something like a music event, the lyrics of a song could appear in front of the wearer’s eyes, which may appeal to some concert-goers.
The patent outlines various ideas for how the specs might be operated, including a wrist-worn computer, voice commands or gestures.
It’s not known if the computer giant has invested any time or money on building a prototype of the high-tech specs, or whether it’s simply a case of laying claim to various features early on to avoid threats of patent-related litigation from rivals should they wish to develop the idea further down the road.
As is well known, Google, as well as a number of smaller companies, is already working on its own AR specs, with the Mountain View company hoping for a commercial launch of its eyewear in 2014. Whereas Microsoft imagines its proposed glasses as something to be worn mainly at live events, Google’s specs are designed to be used while out and about, with the user pulling up information they might otherwise get from their smartphone.
A recent report by Juniper Research suggested that by 2014 the market for AR specs and other wearable tech could be worth as much as $1.5 billion, though whether Microsoft becomes a player in the market remains to be seen.
Below is the full abstract of the patent, filed by Microsoft’s patent Kathryn Stone Perez, executive producer of the Xbox Incubation team that developed the Kinect sensor, and John Tardiff, an audio-video engineer who used to work for Apple.
“A system and method to present a user wearing a head mounted display with supplemental information when viewing a live event. 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 information is presented in a position in the head mounted display which does not interfere with the user’s enjoyment of the live event.”
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