The notion of augmented reality has increasingly gained traction in recent days. Especially with Google’s Project Glass, the interest of the users has been perked up. However, it seems that Google is not the only one gearing up for such a product. Microsoft has also filed a patent application which speaks about smart glasses in detail.
The patent application in question was filed by Microsoft back in 2011 and elaborates on the notion of smart glasses. These glasses essentially overlay relevant information on the real-time view of a user.
For instance, if you are looking at a game of soccer and wish to know the score, the glasses would bring up statistics into the your view, right on the glasses lens. This way, you won’t have to look away to a scoreboard to find the score.
Similarly, these augmented reality glasses can be used to provide the user with different kinds of data which would be relevant to his actual view. The patent description reads, “[It would be] capable of generating display elements on various portions of a user’s display while remaining portions of the head mounted display are transparent to allow the user to continue to view events or occurrences within the live event.”
Microsoft Smart Glasses – Product design
Microsoft’s design for these glasses includes a whole bundle of equipment packed into it including a video camera, a microphone, eye gaze-tracker, gyroscope and more. Moreover, the device will apparently be controlled with the help of a slim computer worn on the wrist whereas the processing of the commands will be done by remote servers, much like Apple’s Siri works.
Actions can be prompted via voice commands, just like Google has implemented in its own augmented reality glasses, or they can be given through flicking eyes.
It is interesting to note that while such augmented reality glasses seemed like a novel and fictitious concept a few years ago, now a number of vendors are jumping the bandwagon to work on it. It can’t be expected at this moment that such glasses will be commercially as popular as, say, the smartphones. Nonetheless, it is estimated that by 2014, the market for them will be valued at $1.5 billion, which is significant. Incidentally, 2014 also marks the year when Google plans to roll out its Glasses on a commercial scale.
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Funny, Google is working on inventing something cool and Microsoft quickly runs out and applies for patents. I guess Apple must be standing in line at the USPO already for another batch of trivial patents as well, trying to preempt other people’s ideas.