A patent application that came to light yesterday has revealed that Google isn’t the only company hard at work on developing wearable computing. Microsoft is also working on a “smart glasses” product that would provide users with an augmented reality experience.
When Google unveiled its “Project Glass” earlier this year, it caused quite a stir. Though the glasses aren’t expected to hit the market until 2014, the prospect of the hub of personal computing moving from the smartphone in your pocket to a pair of glasses has excited a lot of people.
Interestingly, the patent application filed by Microsoft seems to indicate the company doesn’t believe its glasses should be worn at all times by the user. Instead, the application suggests the glasses would be useful only during specific events, like live sports (presumably to display replays and statistics) and concerts (to display song lyrics, etc.).
It should be noted that this patent application was actually filed in the first half of 2011, so it’s quite possible Microsoft’s plans have changed radically by now. It’s probably fair to say that none of the big three tech companies — Google, Microsoft and Apple — are entirely sure how augmented reality glasses will fit into the lives of users.
Interestingly, the Microsoft patent was filed by Kathryn Stone Perez, a leader on Microsoft’s Xbox Incubation team (which was responsible for Kinect) and John Tardiff, an engineer who was previously with Apple — so it appears the project is in very good hands.
Below, a quick refresher for those who missed the Google Glass hubbub from earlier this year: