Microsoft’s new patent proposal could make the Holodeck a reality

Microsoft officially launched its HoloLens augmented reality headset earlier this year for developers, but the company is already working on future projects that could solve one of the HoloLens’ biggest issues: a narrow field of view. If successful, it could allow the headset to offer users more of a true Holodeck experience.

In a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office that was publicly published last week, Microsoft says its idea centers on placing several projectors inside a room that would project objects that would then be detected by the HoloLens headset in order to help extend its FOV. In theory, this could help increase the field of view from the current 40 degrees to the eye’s real viewpoint of nearly 180 degrees.

The patent itself states:

Different instances of the complementary computer-generated content can enhance each other. The complementary computer-generated content can extend a FOV, change the appearance of the real world scene (e.g., a room), mask objects in the real world scene, induce apparent motion, and/or display both public and private content, among other capabilities.

Of course, this is just a patent application, and as such, this is no confirmation that Microsoft will make this kind of Holodeck-like experience as a real product. However, it does show that the company is aware of the current issues with the field of view inside the HoloLens, and it’s likely that Microsoft is working on several methods to overcome this limitation. Once this is solved, we could be one step closer to Star Trek: The Next Generation’s most famous gadget.

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