Microsoft looks to the future as tech giant set to create their own ‘Google Glasses’

By Leslie Larson

PUBLISHED: 14:25 EST, 24 November 2012 | UPDATED: 14:51 EST, 24 November 2012

Microsoft has jumped on the visual device bandwagon and now plans to create their own eyeglasses.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has touted their company’s innovative product at star-studded events throughout the year and in July, news emerged that Apple had received a patent for a wearable display device — seemingly bearing a close resemblance to Google’s Project Glass.

Not to be left behind, sketches filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office show the Redmond, Washington company has plans to create its own head-mounted display device.

Scroll down for video.

Microsoft Keeping up with the competition: Though Microsoft’s patent application was filed on May 20, 2011, it was only recently discovered on fie at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Microsoft Enriching: A drawing shows how the device could highlight statistics and helpful facts for a user while watching a baseball game
Steve BallmerCompetition: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (speaking to the media in San Francisco on October 29, 2012) is believed to be investigating the eye device to keep up with Google and Apple

Though the patent application was sent on May 20, 2011, it was only recently discovered on fie at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Microsoft’s product is described as being distinct from Google’s device and Apple’s planned version as Microsoft’s ‘head mounted display…would provide supplemental information when viewing a live event,’ according to the patent application.

‘A user wearing an at least partially see-through, head mounted display views the live event while simultaneously receiving information on objects, including people, within the user’s field of view.’

A drawing of a potential scene shows a user watching a baseball game and how the device could provide statistics and additional details to enrich the viewing of the sporting event.

At least in the patent application, it doesn’t appear that the device would be intended for everyday use – like walking down the street.

Prototype: Google co-founder Sergey Brin was spotted wearing Google Glasses at a charity event in San Francisco yesterday.Prototype: Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been the company evangelist for the product, he has been spotted wearing the Google Glasses at a various events (pictured in April at a charity event in San Francisco)
Spectators: The pair both used their digital devices to watch models strut their stuff on the New York catwalkSpectators: Google co-founder Sergey Brin (left) enlisted designer Diane von Furstenberg (right) to incorporate the device into her runway show at New York Fashion Week in September
Delight: The star was clearly taken aback by the hi-tech experience of wearing the glassesStyle in the City: The designer lent actress Sarah Jessica Parker (front left) a pair of Google glasses, at her fashion show in September and the star was mystified by the hi-tech experience

Showing off: Google founder Sergey Brin was pictured wearing the device while talking to Rupert Murdoch Showing off: Sergey Brin parades the device while talking to Rupert Murdoch’s wife Wendi (right) at the fashion fest in September

‘The information is presented in a position in the head mounted display which does not interfere with the user’s enjoyment of the live event,’ the description added.

It’s expected that the device would be operated by either a wrist-worn computer, eye movements or voice commands.

The discovery of Microsoft’s foray into the eye wear field comes amid the massive publicity drummed up by the Mountain View, California based company for their Project Glass.

The pet project of Sergey Brin has been marketed as a fashionable yet fully functioning device that even made its way to the runway in designer Diane von Furstenberg’s show at New York Fashion Week in September.

Brin has sported the sci-fi looking accessory throughout 2012 but it isn’t expected to be sold as a consumer product until 2013 or even 2014.

Model: Some of those on the catwalk also wore the glasses as part of an upcoming documentaryMultitasking: A model at the DVF show in September wears a pair of Google Glasses while strutting her stuff on the catwalk
Futuristic: This is the first time anyone outside Google has been seen wearing the glasses in publicFuturistic: Another pair of the glasses, in blue, show the futuristic accessory can be fashionable AND functional

The very sight of the Google Glasses and the prospect of incorporating the technology into every day life has sparked excitement among the industry.

The wraparound frame has a tiny display over the left eye, that lets the wearer surf the web, make video calls, listen to music and even take notes.

Enlarge   Tech firms Tech firms are working on the next generation head mounted device (pictured, an older version)

The user won’t even even have to lift a finger since the screen is controlled by voice commands and even is sensitive enough to respond to the the tilt of the head.

A prototype is currently being tested and reviewed by Google employees before the device will be presented to the public.

In a promotional video for the new technology, a person wearing the device walks down the street and instantly helpful neighborhood tips and information on surrounding landmarks appear on the screen before their eyes.

Additionally, the screen will alert the user to their friends and family in the environs so the person can pop in and surprise someone they know.

Apple is also said to be scurrying its engineers to get its own eye wear available in the near future.

Reports emerged in July that the Cupertino based company had filed a patent application for a ‘head-mounted display apparatus for a user,’ according to the application.

According to early diagrams for the device, the accessory would include one or two LCDs.

The service lets you locate nearby friends in a similar way to Google's current Latitude service Checked in: The Google device will alert the user if friends are located in the neighborhood
The demonstration shows off navigation information similar to what Google currently offers via its Maps service Tip: Google’s Glasses would provide practical alerts to direct a user of where to go…or not go

Apple for the eyesApple for the eyes: Apple CEO Tim Cook (speaking on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco) has reportedly enlisted wearable computer engineers to create an innovative product for the Cupertino based company

Though it is difficult to understand fully how the device would operate, according to the patent description it would be a ‘full immersion’ device, not a ‘walk around’ device like the one developed by Google.

Apple’s would likely be easily embedded in anything from a helmet, a pair of glasses, or a visor.

According to the New York Times, the company has been working on projects that could become ‘wearable computers’ and even hired a wearable computing engineer in 2011.

Wearable computers: The evolution of head-mounted displays from clunky video game modules to a sleek, fashionable accessory

A head-mounted display (HMD) is a device that provides a small display in front of either one of both eyes.

Most HMD applications are used in law enforcement or military training, medical operations or video gaming.

But the devices appear clunky and have not been mass marketed … until Google’s Project Glass introduced the sleek accessory.

Google Glasses resulted from the company’s Project Glass, a program that sought to incorporate its Android mobile operating system into a socially acceptable pair of eyeglass.

The glasses display information in a smartphone-like format but would be hands-free and controlled by voice commands and the tilt of the head.

The use of Google’s Android is expected to give a boost to the mobile operating system that has lagged behind Apple’s massively successful iPhone.

The product (Google Glass Explorer Edition) will be sold for $1,500 to United States Google I/O developers by early 2013 but it has been evangelized by Google co-founder Sergey Brin throughout the past year.

A version for consumers is expected to be released by 2014.

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Posted on November 24, 2012, in Science / Technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If the glasses work well and seamlessly I would like to have one of those. I don’t own a TV since 2005, but sometimes I’d like to watch a couple of things on my computer (online lectures at Udacity, sometimes news, sometimes TV shows like Game of Thrones). It would be so much more convenient if I could lay down in my bed and watch those things in a such much more “relaxed” position.

    Regarding Microsoft…I have the feeling that this company is just pathetic. All they do is ALWAYS jumping on a train close before it’s too late…the only cool thing they have ever done was the initial Microsoft Office…the rest is just always a late copy of pre-existing things.

    • I agree, the augmented reality glasses will most likely be the innovation that may make cell phones and smart phones a thing of the past. The only concern I have with this new technology is since this will most likely be on an individual’s head for long periods of time at a time, it is possible we see an increase in brain cancer and also eye-related problems among users of this product due to using the technology for long periods of time. I hope Google and Microsoft have long-term safety studies on the use of this product before it is released to the public in order for the public to know the optimal hours of use per day for safety. Regarding Microsoft, I agree but they have had success jumping on the train before its too late especially with the Xbox gaming system, and with their latest smart phone mobile software and partnership with Nokia. It’s too early to know if their foray into the tablet PC market will succeed or end in failure.

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