In the past, we’ve talked about the interesting and odd project from Google called Project Glass. The technology is basically a small wearable augmented reality system with a display embedded into a pair of glasses. A patent application has surfaced from Microsoft that shows the company is at least considering a competing product.
Artwork included with the patent application shows one example application as view of a baseball game offering factoids about players, including stats, hovering above them while you watch the game. They also showed another example where subtitles are displayed over an opera performance. Here’s the abstract from the patent application:
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.
Microsoft’s offerings are also not meant to be worn at all times, while Google is hoping we’ll be wearing their glasses everywhere we go. It appears that Microsoft is tying their device to live events like sports and concerts. The Microsoft product would be able to the project text and audio overlays onto whatever the wearer is viewing.
The patent app was originally filed in May of 2011, but was updated this week. There is no indication of what the status of this project is at Microsoft right now; it could be significantly further along considering it’s been over a year since the application was filed, or it could just be a concept. Whereas Google already has usable prototypes of their system, it appears Microsoft’s is in the planning stages.
You can view Microsoft’s complete patent application here.