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Microsoft's patented augmented reality glasses are basically a miniaturized HoloLens

HoloLens is Microsoft's current baby when it comes to augmented reality (AR), and we're even expecting a second version to debut soon. But a new patent filing points to what could potentially be a much more compact take on AR devices from Microsoft.

Filed in September of 2018 and published on January 24 of 2019, the new patent outlines a set of augmented reality glasses that Microsoft envisions could be used in a variety of interesting scenarios. From the abstract:

This disclosure concerns an interactive head-mounted eyepiece with an integrated processor for handling content for display and an integrated image source for introducing the content to an optical assembly through which the user views a surrounding environment and the displayed content, wherein the eyepiece includes event and user action control of external applications.

In non-patent speak, the AR glasses will be able to display and let you interact with digital content overlaid on the real world, much like HoloLens currently does. Where the glasses would set themselves apart is in size. Whereas HoloLens is currently a relatively bulky rig, Microsoft's proposal would pack the same capabilities into something the size of a large set of glasses.

Microsoft AR Glasses patent

In its lengthy disclosure, Microsoft outlines a large and varied number of uses for the glasses. In one scenario, traveling and tours could be supplemented by displaying sightseeing information over real-world architecture and points of interest. Another implementation could see real-time translations displayed in the user's field of vision. Other applications include enhancements for shopping, advertising, and even military and identification applications.

It's a brief look at what AR may hold for the future, once the technology has been sufficiently miniaturized. For that to take hold, however, it will have to be accepted by society more broadly. And as we previously saw with Google's Glass experiment, that could prove to be a tough nut to crack.

Thanks to Steven Lack for the tip!

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

39 Comments
  • Before we get started, and before Bleached opens his mouth, let's all reflect back on the fact that Daniel Rubino has shown him the front door, and it was glorious. Unfortunately, he's not gonna leave, because, you know🙄 Oh, well, back to our regular scheduled program. Enjoy the comments.
  • Sh*t I missed it. Where?
  • It was on the article about the new Windows Central redesign and logo. Here's the exchange: "bleached
    This would have been a great chance to switch to Azure Central. /Troll But honestly, Microsoft Central would probably be a better name. Who knows how long Windows will really be front and center for Microsoft. Windows centric articles seem to be getting rare on this site. Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:58pm Daniel Rubino lol, bleached you're literally the last person on this site I'd ever ask for advice about anything related to tech. And even then, I'd shake my head and still say "no" to whatever it was. Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:29pm bleached
    Your track record isn't that stellar. Your site is always arguing that Windows whatever isn't dead until it is. WP7, WP8, W10M, Windows RT, Windows 8, UWP, Band, Groove, Live Tiles, WoA, Cortana, etc. The list goes on. Why would this be any different? Satya definitely isn't positioning Windows for the future. They will probably release Windows Lite or Core next year and it won't have an ecosystem because he has abandoned everything. It won't go anywhere. Classic windows will be around, but how interesting is that going to be? You are already branching out to other platforms and XBox to fill in the gaps, not to mention the constant ads disguised as articles. It is time for Microsoft Central. Be forward thinking for once. Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:38pm Daniel Rubino "Your track record isn't that stellar. Your site is always arguing that Windows whatever isn't dead until it is. " So leave. No one is asking you to stay, in fact I'll gladly show you the way out. Since our track record isn't stellar, not sure why you hang around at all. Let me be clear: I'm asking you 100 percent to leave our site, never return and leave our bad judgements in your past."
  • That was greatness!!! 😅😅😅😅
  • He got bleached as.
  • If only Leached would take his advice, and swim off.. 🙄
  • Tomorrow he comes back with new ID, Leached.
  • Yes, but let's hope he just takes Daniel's advice.
  • Can we give a shout out to the live reporting from the sideline with up to date information on the field? Give the drummer some
  • Yes! Terrific work 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
  • Yeah but if he leaves, who am I gonna **** all over? Jason Ward isn't worth it. >kicks dirt
  • Thanks for showing me this, I didn't see it before. Obviously I hit a sore spot. You notice he didn't have any legit response. It is tough being a Microsoft apologist in 2019.
  • Just walk, dude... Smdh 🙄
  • Try having a legit comment for once. Seriously, how much of a loser do you have to be to still be here and complain about every little thing? Please get a life.
  • Do y'all remember the good ol' days when Rodney used to go off calling ppl a**hats? The joy it brought me everyday...
  • Naaa, that wasn't me. That was another troll. My word of choice is Gick. 😉
  • Rodney it was 100% you. You were one of the last of us w10m holdouts. I remember bidding you a farewell on that front when switching to android
  • Nawww, it was that troll dude. I know exactly what you're talking about, because he called me one several times. He gets banned, and changes his name all the time.
  • I see you two have kissed and made up - see below 😉
  • Personally, I would love a pair of MS's glasses, and hopefully they have live tiles, and everything us MS fans love about Microsoft. 👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾😜
  • Yepers. Im actually going blind.. It would be great if they could help old folks like me see better.
  • 41... I'm 41 years old.
  • These are more similar to the Vuzix Blade than anything else, only the Blade is already available.
  • Why not compare to Magic Leap?
    The patent is more similar to the Magic Leap design-wise.
  • It looks like they patented Oakley glasses.
  • They look like Ralph Osterhout smart glasses because Microsoft bought the patent from him.
  • Yeah, his name is right on the patent as the inventor. This would have been better journalism if that were the story. None of this will make it into the next Hololens, as this was filed just in September. The story here, is Microsoft absorbing more patents to corner the market.
  • How about a MJOLNIR helmet with AR?
  • Hmmm, that looks like the elements 108 (one on each side) are some kind of short-throw projectors that project the image on the back of the curved lenses (element 104).
    That would solve the FOV (Field of Vision) issues with the current Hololens and avoid any need for eyetracking. I wonder if this has anything to do with the recent DOD contract that Microsoft just landed?
  • "That would solve the FOV (Field of Vision) issues with the current Hololens and avoid any need for eyetracking."
    Can you elaborate on the eye tracking subject? To me it seems eye tracking is useful for foveated rendering, which makes sense on any GPU or battery -constrained device, regardless of the field of view. At the same time, eye tracking it is a good thing to have on any HMD as an input, for apps and games to be able to react to your gaze in a more precise way, which otherwise is assumed to always be a straight line from your forehead. As the field of view improves, more pixels are necessary, making the foveated rendering more interesting than in shorter fields of view. Similarly, as the sweet spot improves, tracking your gaze seems necessary, as you will be more likely to look around by moving your eyes across the field of view instead of always having to move your head to stay in the sweet spot.
    Basically, to me, it seems as the FOV improves, the need for eye tracking increases.
  • What you are talking about is only an issue in VR. These are AR glasses, totally different thing. They are essentially a short-throw HUD with head-tracking.
  • HoloLens v1 doesn't support WinMR Motion Controllers, so its only pointing system is gaze, which is currently a straight line from your forehead... I don't see how this is a VR-only issue... Same for foveated rendering, even if AR doesn't need to render the whole environment, photo-realistic rendering, increased FOV and resolution, and AR-improvements such as applying real-world lighting to digital assets, or even reflect real-world objects in shiny digital objects, all put extra work on the limited mobile GPU. Foveated rendering can definitely help there. How does that not apply to AR ?
  • I expect this is what Microsoft will announce at Mobile World Congress next month.
  • Not going to be for a while yet
  • Maybe, but I would expect not, as this was picked up from Ralph Osterhout (his name is first on the inventor list), and it was (re)filed by Microsoft just in September. Given that they have been working on Hololens 2 for years now, and the fact that it does not look like Kinect for Azure inside, I'd say it will not look too much like that this generation.
  • Seeing I have 3 monitors at work... and want 4... what I’d really love to have are glasses I could put on at my desk that allow me to bring up multiple windows in 360 degrees. And ditch my monitors altogether.
  • All you need is sensory input directly to the spinal cord and brain and an iv pack and never have to return to regular reality again. Mixed reality for the win
  • Looks plausible, and with a design like that i really do hope they go the route of externalizing the actual compute unit/battery from the sensor/display assembly.. That would be so much better, it'd be lighter, you could use it both tethered to a full computer and completely mobile, you could sell just the glasses by them selves for a lower price or together with the compute unit, you could upgrade the compute part, have different skus with different amount of power.. so many benefits..
    And the cable interface is already there with VR-link/usb 3.1 Also its pretty funny that fig.7 of the patent uses Gmail as an example of reading mail on the device :P
  • My eyes are augmented meme is real hahaha