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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.