A patent application published yesterday suggests Microsoft may be cooking its own version of Google's Project Glass. The document points to a head-mounted system that combines an integrated camera with a transparent display for overlaying information on objects within the user's field of view.
There seem to be some fundamental differences between what Microsoft proposes and what Google has been doing. The device described in the patent application is not intended to be used throughout the day as you are getting around. Instead, it’s meant to be used at live events like sports games or concerts. The glasses would throw up relevant text, images and audio, which according to Microsoft’s own description would enable things like live stats for players on the field, instant replays, and real-time translation of speech or text.
By comparison, Google Glass seems to be geared for prolonged use, with a tiny screen you have to look up and see to get information about things that are nearby, receive notifications, communication, get directions, and more -- pretty much bringing the functionality of an Android smartphone or tablet to a head-up display.
Of course while Google has already shown off working prototypes -- in spectacular fashion, mind you -- it’s unclear how far along Microsoft’s project is or if they’re even actively working on it. The patent application was submitted back in May 2011 but was only recently made public.