Based on a patent filing that has recently surfaced, it appears that Microsoft is planning to outfit its HoloLens augmented reality (AR) device with a tracking technology that could solve a number of the headgear's limitations.
HoloLens And The FOV Dilemma
One of the potential outcomes is the achievement of a Star Trek-like Holodeck through the new technology's capability to project images on surrounding objects for the purpose of extending the HoloLens field of vision (FOV).
The patent filing was reportedly submitted last June 2015 and was only published last Dec. 22. It detailed a discussion wherein Microsoft ponders several workaround for the HoloLens limited FOV, hampering Microsoft's ambition to overlay a real world scene with a computer-generated spatially-registered content.
The existing HoloLens is only capable of a 40-degree angle, which falls short of the 180-degree FOV that the human vision is capable of.
Microsoft is concerned that the FOV constraint would diminish the user experience for its HoloLens platform.
Microsoft's Holodeck Ambition
As previously mentioned, one of Microsoft's solution for this challenge is the projection of images onto a room in order to extend FOV.
This has triggered excitement from a number of sources because the technology sounds similar to the Star Trek Holodeck concept. The fictional technology is able to project a virtual world onto a room that is also interactive.
The main challenge in adopting this technology rests on the fact that it will require an array of peripherals that would make it unsuitable to use in public.
It is important to note that Microsoft is said to be already working on this technology and what is even more awesome is that it will not require any AR glasses for it to work.
It will depend on the development of a viable holographic technology that can fit in our living rooms and what Microsoft calls as a waveguide-based eye tracking technology.
This last component is primarily aimed at creating an easy method for eye-tracking and also to address the difficulty for those wearing prescription eyeglasses. The waveguide-based eye tracking will rely on the so-called input and output coupler, working in concert with infrared beams to achieve an eye-tracking effect.
"The input-coupler comprises a grating area, formed by plurality of curved grating lines, that diffract light beams incident on the input-coupler into the waveguide and towards a common region at which is located the output-coupler. The curved grating lines of the input-coupler have a radially varying pitch," Microsoft said.
The statement is quite complicated and technical but it seeks to address the difficulty of outfitting the AR headgear with a tracking camera that could hamper vision as well as get in the way for users wearing eyeglasses.