Little has been confirmed about Microsoft’s rumored Xbox 720, but the Redmond, Wash.-based company has certainly filed some ambitious patents concerning its next-generation gaming hardware. Earlier in September plans for augmented reality were discovered, and now a newly discovered prototype illustrates designs for what appears to be a wearable controller.
The patent application was filed by Microsoft in July and describes what has been called a “Wearable Electromyography-Based Controller.” This type of device would measure muscle activity in order to interact with and manipulate computing devices, according to the US Patent & Trademark Office.
This wearable controller would take the form of an armband, a wristwatch, or an “article of clothing having a plurality of integrated EMG-based sensor nodes and associated electronics.” In English, this means the controller would be an article of clothing with sensors that could detect muscle-generated movement.
A diagram accompanying the patent application depicts the “Wearable Electromyography-Based Controller” as an armband sitting right below the player’s elbow.
It appears that Microsoft’s Kinect was only the first step in delving into motion-controlled gaming devices. The long-time PC software maker seems to have grandiose plans that could be integrated into its next-generation Xbox 720 gaming console that could change the way people play games. The patent discovered earlier in September revealed detailed plans to create a fully immersive augmented reality gaming environment.
Schematics that were obtained by Patently Apple illustrated a gaming system outputting a primary image to a player’s television. Peripheral images based on this primary image are then projected on to surrounding surfaces in the player’s environment, which could include walls and various forms of furniture.
Perhaps this “wearable controller” will be used as an additional component with Microsoft’s augmented reality device. Based on the two separate prototypes, it seems as if an augmented reality device would be mounted on the player’s HDTV, similar to the Kinect’s sensor bar. This would project the images, but the patent describing this device does not mention plans for a controller. This “wearable controller” could be used to interact with the peripheral environments referred to in Microsoft’s augmented reality device.
Not to mention, the augmented reality patent filing also mentioned “suitable complimentary color glasses used to view stereographic images.” Although this is not exactly what one would consider a “wearable controller,” it does provide further evidence that Microsoft is working to develop wearable technologies to be used with its gaming system. This falls in line with allegedly leaked Microsoft documents that date back to 2010. Discovered in June, this paperwork described a next-generation Kinect that would implement the use of “Kinect shades” with its next-gen console, presumably the Xbox 720.
“The game has broken out of the screen and is all around you,” the paperwork from 2010 read.
But the big question that Xbox fans may be wondering is, “Will we see this in the Xbox 720?”
Microsoft has yet to even announce this rumored Xbox 720, which means that the company is still working on the technology that will be included in the 360 successor. Believed to be codenamed as Durango, the Xbox 720 release date is rumored to be 18 months away, during the 2013 holiday season, as PC World reports. However, this has not been confirmed, and is strictly based on alleged leaks and Microsoft job postings.
It’s difficult to say if gamers will see this type of technology debut with the Xbox 720 or if it would be a post-launch addition, but these reportedly leaked patents and job listings referring to an Xbox 360 successor indicate that Microsoft is hard at work.