Interesting Patents:
Microsoft’s Patent Application Publication
Distributed mode loudspeaker actuator including patterned electrodes
U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2021/0173480
Assignee: Microsoft

According to a new report, the head-mounted display market, including Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies has an expected growth rate of 35% between 2021-2027. While often attributed to immersive gaming experiences (see our AMD article), many companies are finding ways to utilize the elaborate technologies for commercial, military and defense, and industrial use.

Microsoft’s latest AR Glasses patent application publishing reveals a direction-finding application that could apply to emergency first-responders and soldiers.

Before we dive into Microsoft’s latest patent application publication and the AR technology, let’s briefly cover the difference between published patent applications and issued patents.

Understanding issued Patents versus published patent applications

Published patent applications are official public copies of a patent application submitted to the USPTO and do not grant any patent rights to an applicant until a patent is examined and issued.

Issued patents have been examined by the USPTO and provide the scope that the applicant is claiming from the specification.

The basis of obtaining a patent begins with a patent specification. The specification details all information relating to the claimed invention.

In other words, any claim of a patent application must be supported and described within the specification.

When a patent is issued, the claims define the scope of protection for the patent. Once issued, the patent claims may be amended, however, the scope of the patent cannot be expanded. 

When considering a patent application that has not been issued, it is important to remember that the claims from the specification can still change. If there is more than one invention described within a specification it can eventually lead to multiple issued patents, as each patent can only cover one invention at a time.

One great example of this process is Microsoft’s patent application for AR Glasses, initially filed in July of 2011. Ten years later, Microsoft is still prosecuting new applications related to the 2011 AR Glasses specification.

Microsoft’s Latest Application Publication and What The Invention Would Do

This application comes from a long prosecution chain, or patent family, of augmented reality glasses patents from Microsoft. What is unique about this specific application is the way the system focuses on utilizing a user’s surrounding environment noise data to determine the origin of detected noise. The collected noise data can be associated with the user’s location data to provide a notification via the augmented reality glasses. Additionally, multiple headsets can be linked together to share noise data and origin notifications and direction-finding capabilities, providing even greater utility than an individual headset.


This system is only one element that makes up the larger augmented reality glasses. The use of this system by an individual has many implementations from improving worker safety during construction, or even something as simple as being able to pinpoint the location of a machine with a squeaky belt. 

However, when the system can be used with a network of users and sensors, the benefits of this system can be further multiplied. As an example, this system could be implemented to assist first responders locate where they are needed when they arrive at a call, utilizing the data from every headset to more quickly identify where the actual emergency is.

According to the patent application:Written by John DeStefano, Technical Advisor
and Lauren Hawksworth, Marketing Administrator

June 10, 2021