Microsoft is expected to show off the next HoloLens at Mobile World Congress 2019 at the end of February. A recently published patent is doing the rounds suggesting Microsoft managed to cram the whole headset into a very wearable set of glasses. Unfortunately, this seems rather unlikely.
A newly surfaced patent filed by Microsoft back in September of 2018 and reported on by Windows Central, it appears that the company is aiming to addresses one of the biggest evolutionary complaints from reviewers by miniaturizing the hardware.
While the patent is indeed new, the design touted in the patent dates all the way back to 2011, as can be seen in this September 2011 patent for “Local Advertising Content on an Interactive Eyepiece”.
The patent was filed by Osterhout et al, an Augmented Reality company who’s IP Microsoft purchased in 2014. That company does make the very cool ODG series of headsets, but they are less capable than the HoloLens, consistent with its compact size.
While the next HoloLens will likely not be as sleek as the ODG-r8 above, it is expected to feature rather advanced technology.
We already know the next HoloLens will have an improved Holographic Processing Unit with more AI capabilities, an improved Kinect-like depth camera, and will either run on an Intel processor or possibly an ARM one, in line with recent developments. Microsoft’s main challenge with the new Hololens is to improve the field of view, which at 35 degrees has been described as looking at the world through a mail slot. Microsoft is reportedly bringing development of the lenses internally to achieve this at a reasonable cost.
The device will likely be announced on the 24th or 25th February, so we only have a month to see exactly what Microsoft achieved in the last 4 years of development. Hopefully, the 2011 patent is not too far off after all.