Microsoft Patents AR Controller, Possibly For HoloLens

by Jamie Feltham • August 24th, 2017

The developer kits for Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset are controlled with basic gesture recognition, getting users to pinch the air to interact with user interfaces and more. A new patent, however, suggests a physical controller might be on the way too.

The patent, revealed earlier this week after being filed back in 2016, details the design for an “augmented reality input device”, but doesn’t go into great detail about the specifics of the kit. What it does have, though, are pictures of a wand-like controller with a trigger on the bottom and two buttons on top. One is a standard circular button while the other looks like it could slide when moved by the user’s thumb. Presumably there’d be some sort of motion sensing in their too, so that the kit could be used as a pointer or perhaps even a virtual object itself.

Microsoft did showcase a controller for HoloLens when it debuted its Project X-Ray shooter back in 2015, but we haven’t seen it since and it looks very different to the device shown in the patent.

It’s anyone’s guess as to if we’ll ever see a consumer version of this controller, though we’d love to see something that offered a more traditional and direct means of control for the eventual consumer version of the HoloLens, preferably with six degrees of freedom (6DOF) control.

Elsewhere, Microsoft also has a pair of reference design controllers for its Windows 10 Mixed Reality VR headsets, which partner companies are able to take and iterate on for a consumer release with their respective VR headsets. These controllers offer 6DOF inside-out positional tracking, though we haven’t been able to test out their stability for ourselves.

What would you want to see in a dedicated controller for the HoloLens?

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