Interesting Patents: Microsoft’s Real-World Object VR Rendering

Microsoft’s Patent:
Rendering Real-World Objects in Virtual Reallity

Transitioning into a VR environment and warning HMD users of real-world physical obstacles
U.S. Patent No. 11,009,716
Assignee: Microsoft

Everyone who has had a chance to use Virtual Reality equipment understands the necessity of being able to avoid real-world obstacles while navigating in the virtual environment. This week Microsoft was issued a patent regarding a computer system capable of identifying real-world physical objects and rendering them into the virtual world.


To accomplish this task the VR mounted display (HMD) detects the proximity of the user to physical objects and once a predetermined triggering event occurs the computer generates a virtual representation of the real-world object in the virtual reality display alerting the user to the object’s presence. This system provides a seamless transition of a physical object into a VR-generated representation to alert them about the real-world environment around them.


This system seeks to add physical environment awareness to Virtual Reality head-mounted displays (HMDs). The use of user proximity to physical obstacles and the further integration of the virtual representation into the HMD provides the user with a much safer overall virtual reality experience. The integration of the proximity detection system to trigger the computer-generated virtual representation demonstrates an innovative means for warning users while using virtual reality HMDs.


Virtual reality HMDs inherently block the user’s view of the physical world to immerse them into the virtual environment. Initially, for some users, the immersive virtual world can become disorienting. Traditional methods of providing users with a view of a camera mounted on the HMD to navigate the physical world can be even further disorienting by providing users with a view dissimilar to their natural state, further disorienting the user. Instead of porting a video feed to alert the user of physical objects, what Microsoft does is use sensor data from the user to then have the physical object rendered properly in the virtual environment to provide the user with an accurate depiction of where the physical object is located.

Written by John DeStefano, Technical Advisor

May 18, 2021


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