Microsoft files new AI-powered smart backpack patent. It can hear you and see what you see

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We’ve all seen smart devices: smartphones, smart fridges, and even smart houses. This time though, Microsoft seems to be working on a … brand-new AI-supported Microsoft smart backpack. What?

The Redmond-based tech giant filed for the design patent in May 2023, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has just cleared the application for public feedback recently — just like their new video pass-through headset.

No need to get creeped up by the title, though. This new Microsoft smart backpack does wonders. Powered by artificial intelligence, it can identify objects in the environment, perform contextual tasks, access information from the cloud, and interact with other devices. 

The backpack includes a camera, microphone, speaker, network interface, processor, and storage.

“Digital assistants are becoming more versatile due to advancements in computing. The present concepts relate to improvements in wearable digital assistants that can perform various tasks for the benefit of users,” says Microsoft.

Honestly, it does look straight out of a sci-fi film. In its patent application, Microsoft outlines all the things this backpack can do in everyday life. For example, you can ask to bring it to ski and ask whether you can ski in the direction that you’re facing. The backpack will automatically scan the surroundings and tell you whether the direction is out of bounds or not. 

You can stand in front of a concert poster and instruct the backpack to add a reminder to your calendar to attend the concert. And, if you’re ever in a grocery store, you can ask the smart backpack about the price of an item, whether it is on sale, its price one or two weeks ago, and compare the prices of the item in other stores.

“The present concepts relate to an artificial intelligence assisted smart wearable that can function as a hands-free digital assistant. Moreover, the wearable may be context-aware such that a user can provide contextual commands that relate to the environment in which the user is situated and the wearable can understand the contextual command by sensing the environment and using artificial intelligence,” Microsoft also says.

The process is carried out in six steps. Once the backpack receives a command from you, it’ll automatically sense the surrounding environment through different sensors and then send both pieces of information to the AI engine. The server, then, interprets the information through speech recognition and natural language processing. 

Then, the AI returns with a response, whether it’s an answer to the query, an acknowledgment that the task has been done, and/or a prompt to ask for more information from you.

To be fair, there aren’t that many smart backpacks with AI in the market for now. Targus, the famous laptop bag maker, introduced their 15.6″ Cypress Hero Backpack last year. It has the whole shebang: a built-in Apple Find My technology, integrated rechargeable & replaceable battery, and more for $150.

There’s also an AI-powered smart backpack from Intel from 2021 with a built-in GPS unit that could help visually-impaired people scanning the world around them. But compared to this? We’d say Microsoft’s new smart backpack could be a game changer.

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