New Microsoft patent shows off augmented reality glasses

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.

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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!