Is Microsoft making AR goggles for the Xbox One?

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A patent application by Microsoft outlines the company's plans for an augmented-reality (AR) gaming headset.

(Credit: USPTO)

It looks like Microsoft's leaked Xbox road map from over a year ago is coming true. So far, the company has shown off its IllumiRoom concept, and announced its next console.

Next up? Well, according to the timeline, the Fortaleza "Kinect glasses" are due for 2014 — and a new patent granted on 1 August by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) called "Multiplayer gaming with head-mounted display", spotted by NeoGAF forum user SlipperyMoose, seems right on cue.

The head-mounted display (HMD) as defined by the patent will not be a competitor for the Oculus Rift. Rather, its primary purpose seems to be to invite other gamers to play with you.

"In one example, a method may include receiving user voice data from a user and determining that the user voice data is an invitation to participate in a multiplayer game. Eye-tracking information, depth information, facial recognition information, potential player head-mounted display device information and/or potential player voice data may be received," the patent says. "The invitation from the user may be associated with the potential player using the eye-tracking information, the depth information, the facial recognition information, the potential player head-mounted display device information and/or the potential player voice data."

(Credit: USPTO)

In addition, the images show that the glasses could be used to overlay digital elements in the real world — swords, for example — which means the glasses are clear, allowing the user to see the real world through clear pixels on an OLED display, similar to Google Glass.

Other technology packed onto the device includes optical sensors to detect movement within its field of view, depth cameras for sensing depth, infrared cameras and accelerometers to track head movement.

Of course, filing a patent doesn't necessarily mean a product is definitely coming to market; but the AR gaming possibilities of a full-vision Google Glass-style HMD have us hoping that Microsoft at least gives this one a shot.

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