Augmented reality (AR) is the hot thing right now and in fact it almost stole the show from virtual reality (VR) in 2016. Remember Pokémon Go? The game that took the world by storm last July and the news is that it’s built on AR. AR is a blend between the virtual reality and the real world and if you like you can call it virtual reality on steroids.
Besides gaming and entertainment, Microsoft thinks the technology could be used for other purposes. A recently published patent application by Microsoft shows how AR can be used for what they described as object tracking. What Microsoft is saying is that the technology can be used to track small objects like your car keys in future and save you the time you would have used for other things instead.
“A mobile computing device, comprising: a sensor subsystem comprising an image sensor; a display subsystem; a logic subsystem configured to execute instructions; and a data-holding subsystem comprising instructions stored thereon that are executable by the logic subsystem to: receive image data from the image sensor; detect via the image data a plurality of user interactions with a moveable inanimate physical object; recognize a behavioral pattern based on the plurality of user interactions and times at which the plurality of user interactions occurred; generate an alert based upon the behavioral pattern; and at a later time based upon the times at which the interactions occurred, output the alert. “
The technology will learn about your keys and then it can tell you where it last saw them and in the case of multiple users’ headsets communicating with each other, the patent application says “Each person may become aware of changes to objects made by other users via the sharing of object tracking information….in this manner, a user may be able to discover a most recent location of lost keys, may be provided with a reminder to buy more milk while browsing the dairy section at a grocery store, and/or may track and recall other object state information in any suitable manner.”
The idea here is that each time an object is moved, your AR headset will be notified so that you can locate them later.
While this technology may still be a long way coming, Microsoft is already developing its AR headset Hololens however in the early stages. If you’re familiar with the way tech companies file patents, then you’ll know that thousands of such patents ae filed yearly and many of them never see the light of day. It’s just a way of preserving an idea that may never materialise.
But the patent — first filed in September 2016 — still provides a tantalizing insight into what one of the leaders in the field of augmented reality is thinking about, and the potential use cases we may see in the years ahead.