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The Day Could Come When We're All Walking Around with Computers on Our Heads

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Core prompt: While tablets and smartphones are currently the computing devices of choice for those on the go, the day could come when we’re all walking around with computers on our heads. It will ne

Microsoft Has Own Project Glass Headset in The Works

While tablets and smartphones are currently the computing devices of choice for those on the go, the day could come when we’re all walking around with computers on our heads. It will never happen, you say? Then why do both Microsoft and Google believe this scenario is possible?

In April 2012 Google unveiled Project Glass, its attempt at bringing augmented reality glasses to life. Project Glass imagines a future where everybody is wearing these computing devices. The video released at the time showed a guy using the specs to help him plan his life, including finding out what he had on that day, finding a walking route from Point A to Point B, and learning to play the ukulele.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has since demonstrated the Project Glass specs on stage, with a “broad consumer offering” planned for 2014. So it’s happening, whether the public have any interest in it or not.

Now, according to a patent application published by the USPTO (via Unwired View), it’s come to light that Microsoft has its own augmented reality headset in the works. They look more like traditional sunglasses than the HUD-style headset Project Glass resembles. And Microsoft is conceiving of a very different use for the specs.

Rather than being worn all day, every day, which is what Google wants to imagine will happen with Project Glass, the Microsoft headset is seen as useful for certain situations. The examples given in the patent application are a baseball game and a stage play. The idea being that the user would gain additional information about what they’re seeing.

This may seem less ambitious than Google’s effort, but this small step could help foster mainstream adoption of such futuristic technology. Microsoft may be better positioned than Google is, purely by offering consumers a chance to try out augmented reality headgear on specific occasions before giving over their life to the device.

The patent application was filed in May 2011, so the Microsoft device may have evolved considerably in the time that has since passed. I suspect Google’s ambitious take on the technology may have forced Microsoft to speed up its own efforts. But, unlike Google, Microsoft won’t announce anything until it’s sure the tech is ready for its big debut.

 
 
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