Microsoft Patents Tech for Augmented Reality Devices to Track Real-World Objects

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Microsoft has applied for a patent on technology that would allow potential augmented reality devices to keep track of real-world objects in their vicinity.

Always losing the TV remote? Can’t remember where you put your wallet? In the future, Microsoft may have your back. Patent application 20160373570 would leverage an AR device’s object tracking functionality to make sure your keys don’t become lost between the cushions of your sofa, or even remind you that you’re out of ketchup. As described by Microsoft:

The tracking of the location or other state of objects may occupy a significant amount of effort in everyday life. Further, much time may be spent in trying to locate misplaced objects. For example, searching for misplaced car keys, wallets, mobile devices, and the like may cause people to lose productive time. Likewise, forgetting that the milk carton in the home refrigerator is almost empty may lead to an extra trip to the store that could have been avoided had the shopper remembered the state of the milk carton. In some instances, such objects may be moved, emptied, etc., by a person other than the owner, thereby complicating the task of tracking.

Furthermore, such object tracking, if shared between devices, could make it much more difficult to lose things at all. If such devices become commonplace, your personal AR network might even be able to tell you when you’ve accidentally dropped your cell phone at the store, or whether you’ve forgotten to pack important items for a trip.

The move falls in line with Microsoft’s focus on “mixed reality,” backboned by their forthcoming Hololens device:

Mixed reality encompasses a wide range of experiences that previously were considered to be only augmented reality or only virtual reality. In mixed reality, people, places, and objects from your physical and virtual worlds merge together in a blended environment that becomes your canvas.

The possibilities of this technology are endless, but for now remain little more than big ideas. Only time will tell whether Microsoft can turn these dreams into (augmented) reality.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.


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