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Microsoft acquires string of augmented reality patents

Firm said to have paid $150m as Xbox VR rumours intensify

Microsoft is in the process of applying for more than eighty patents related to augmented reality glasses, fuelling long-held rumours that the corporation will extend the Xbox One's lifespan with wearable computing technology within a few years.

The applications were filed in January, according to the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office.

A TechCrunch report, which initially unearthed the documents, claims that Microsoft has paid "up to $150 million" to buy IP assets related to augmented reality from the wearable computing firm Osterhout Design Group.

The news was investigated days after Facebook rocked the industry by purchasing the Virtual Reality hardware company Oculus Rift for $2 billion.

Microsoft was rumoured to be working on its own Xbox One virtual reality device days after it was confirmed that Sony was developingProject Morpheus - a premium head-mounted display for PlayStation 4.

In August, with knowledge that Sony was developing its own VR headset,CVG asked the Xbox exec Phil Harrison whether he would like the technology to come to Xbox One.

His answer suggests Microsoft is at the early stages of designing VR hardware.

Have you tried Oculus Rift?
Yes I have.
Is that a technology you would like to see on your platform?
Yeah there's high-speed USBs on the back of the console that allow for high-speed data transfer, and our platform is designed to be open and extendable. But we have no particular plans at the moment.

However, augmented reality has been a routinely speculated feature for the new Xbox.

In June 2012, CVG published details from a leaked internal document that outlines the product roadmap for 'Fortazela Glasses' - electronic shades that would overlay rich 3D images.

Microsoft's purchase of the patents (six are already issued and 75 are in progress) would appear to indicate that these plans have not been abandoned yet.

The Fortazela road-map suggests that glasses SDK will be issued to developers in "2014".

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