In wake of the Google Glass experiment failure, Microsoft HoloLens rose as the de facto choice among enterprise AR headsets. This is not a sting at Glass – they still pack a punch in industrial use cases – but the public gaze is largely concerned with Microsoft when it comes to the next generation AR eyepiece. Judging by the new patent release, the next Microsoft AR glasses are going small, almost miniature.
Vigilant as ever, we are on the lookout for any news regarding the HoloLens 2.0. In the meantime, we crunch the time looking at what awaits further down the decades. And judging by the latest US Patent Application Publication, Microsoft got in store a new set of Augmented Reality glasses. The patent paints a familiar picture, that of HoloLens, but coming in much the reduced package.
The principle behind the next Microsoft AR glasses is similar to HoloLens – a sturdy next-gen eyepiece of varied use case scenarios. Starting from fairly lightweight one, the glasses will be used to display travel and sightseeing information directly onto objects, greatly enhancing tour guiding experience. There is also a set of enhancers that would better the overall experience of advertising and shopping. Moving on to the more advanced stuff, the next Microsoft AR glasses will see usage in real-time translation, as well as for military operations. Once again, they look like HoloLens packed small.
Judging by the scant images Microsoft provides of patent, the company is sticking to the futuristic look. We should know better though, than judge by the looks or extrapolate by the sound of the written patent-speak. For we may lose ourselves in verbosities not unlike this one: ‘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’. Meaning Augmented Reality glasses.
Cumbersome though the verbiage is, browsing the patent lists yields much insight into where companies are headed. A lot can be read from the this one filed in September last year. A device to be proud of, HoloLens did not really live up to the ‘Micro’ part of Microsoft. For all intents and purposes, they are that potent, but largely unwieldy market offering. Fine so far, but the trend is moving towards reducing the package as it were, while keeping the utility largely intact. One look at current Augmented Reality scene is enough to justify the statement.
But whether the market is ready for slew of small headsets is another question. As Google learned the hard way, technology needs to pace itself for maximum impact. It will be years before we see people mass-adopting AR eyewear, and big strides, definitive solutions, will have to wait for the right moment. This is exactly why HoloLens is still reigning supreme (it took years to get a worthy competition) and the next Microsoft AR glasses look to us as attempt to safeguard the future.