According to Twitter user h0x0d, two new patents have been filed by Microsoft for a ‘Six DOF Input Device’ and a ‘Virtual Reality Floor Mat Activity Region’ respectively.

Both patents were published on October 3rd, 2019, and filed by Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC.

The patent for the Six DOF Input Device, or ‘Xbox Stylus’ as h0x0d calls it, was filed all the way back on March 30th, 2018.

The patent’s abstract describes the Xbox Stylus as an “input device comprising a body, a sensor system configured to sense motion of the input device with six DOF (degree-of-freedom), a communication interface and a controller.”

In the patent, which can be viewed online here, there’s a figure showing a human hand holding a stylus along with a figure of a stylus apparently projecting a globe. The latter diagram is described as “[illustrating] the control of a virtual camera in a three-dimension scene”, strongly implying that the Xbox Stylus is designed to work with virtual reality.

The patent for the Virtual Reality Floor Mat Activity Region, or VR Mat, was filed a few days later, on April 2nd, 2018.

The abstract for the VR Mat describes it as a “computing system [receiving] image data from an optical sensor imaging a physical environment.” To put it simply: it’s a mat that works alongside a camera to work out where you are in relation to the room you’re in.

The first figure in the patent, which can be viewed online here, shows a person using a virtual reality headset along with two “peripheral control devices” that may be used to “direct a virtual fireball at a virtual wizard.”

In the figure, the person is also shown standing on the VR mat. The patent claims that “two or more regions of [the] mat may have different surface textures, thereby providing user with tactile feedback as to the general positioning of the user [on the mat].”

The simplified implication here is that barefooted users “may be able” to use their bare skin to determine exactly where they are on the mat, thus ensuring that they stay on the mat during gameplay.

This implies that Microsoft have thought of a solution to the problem where many VR users tend to wind up wandering headfirst into a wall while immersed in virtual reality.

It’s not exactly clear what Microsoft has planned – if they even have anything planned and weren’t just filing the patents to protect the company’s ideas – for the Xbox Stylus or the VR Mat, but both patents are incredibly intriguing.

What makes them all the more intriguing, however, is that Microsoft has previously denied plans to bring virtual reality to the Xbox. Could the company be planning on going back on its word? Or are there new plans in the works for Xbox Scarlett? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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