Microsoft has recently published a patent for a modular virtual reality (VR) display. This advanced technology potentially marks the future direction for Microsoft's VR headset, the HoloLens 3. Amidst growing competition in the VR/AR market, with companies like Meta, Apple, and many others introducing their own VR headsets, this patent might signal a new direction for Microsoft.
Unique Modular Design Envisions Sustainability
According to the patent, Microsoft's modular VR display has several unique features. It includes a sensor and display unit, capable of being attached to various types of headgear such as VR headsets, glasses, or helmets. The display has an exclusive structure featuring lenses on both sides and is equipped with typical sensors and display devices associated with virtual reality tech. It adjusts the brightness for holographic displays and conceals its internal parts behind its front lens.
The appealing factor of the new patent is its modular design. By enabling the headset device to connect to different systems, Microsoft aims to reduce production costs and avoid the challenges associated with developing separate models for various environments. The patent also mentions the provision for an additional module for increased computing power, storage capacity, and energy sources.
Potential Applications Across Multiple Industries
The versatility of the patented Microsoft modular VR display has potential applications across various sectors. For instance, it can be utilized for entertainment, or in industrial segments like the mechanical and construction industries. The device might also find significant use in the healthcare sector, where HoloLens already has a presence.
While it is yet to be seen whether this patent will materialize into a market-ready device, it certainly paves the way for a multifunctional and economical VR system. It not only provides a peek into potential future iterations of the HoloLens but might also offer a solution to sustainability issues in VR technology. Microsoft has yet to comment on the patent or provide any potential timeline for development, indicating it is still early days for this technology.
Will Microsoft Position New HoloLens for Consumers?
Earlier this year, Apple took a major step towards mainstreaming virtual reality headsets when it launched its Vision Pro headset. Meta, which has been a leader in the industry with Oculus Rift, continues its strides with the launch of the Meta Quest 3 in June. The company is also working with LG on a new headset to compete with Apple's product.
While those products have enterprise capabilities, they are also able to provide consumer benefits, such as gaming. HoloLens can do that too, but there is not doubt that the original HoloLens and current HoloLens 2 are focused almost completely on enterprise and commercial use.
A change in direction could see the HoloLens 3 continue that enterprise path while also appealing more to consumers. Microsoft has previously said it is 100% committed to HoloLens 3 but will only launch the device if it is able to make meaningful changes. A consumer angle may be that meaningful change.