A Microsoft patent has surfaced, suggesting that the company could be working on building a gaming helmet for the Xbox that incorporates virtual reality glasses, and -- if real -- is guaranteed to look daft.
The patent, which dates back to 2010, was recently unearthed by Patent Bolt. The diagrams show a device designed to slot onto your bonce, with two screens that lie over each eye. It's apparently designed with the Xbox in mind, while a fractionally less ludicrous spectacles-lookin' device is reportedly built to work with smart phones, MP3 players and other future devices.
Those screens could be used to display a flat 2D or stereoscopic 3D image. Interestingly, it's also detailed that those projectors could be partly transparent, which would mean you could still see the world around you while wearing this tech.
My imagination is racing a bit, but I'm wondering if that could be used to provide an information overlay for Xbox games. Image playing Gears of War on your telly via your Xbox, but having the game's heads-up display info -- ammo, maps and so on -- projected onto your specs.
Neat. There could be an issue there with getting your eye to focus at the right distance in that situation, though Patent Bolt says the compact display could display a virtual image of 'infinitely distant objects', so perhaps your eyes could be tricked into focusing at the right spot.
So are we likely to see the Xbox hat and glasses combo hitting the shelves? Wearable tech seems to be popping up elsewhere -- Sony already has something similar on sale (there's a video below for your delectation), and Google is reportedly looking to get some Android-powered augmented-reality shades on sale by the end of the year.
But I think we're unlikely to see these weird patents become real. Microsoft has put a lot of emphasis on its Kinect sensor bar (which came out in November 2010) and controller-free gaming, so at this point releasing any peripheral would feel like a backwards step.
Would you squeeze your head inside an Xbox helmet? Or should this device remain in the realm of fantasy? Put your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook wall.
Image credit: Patent Bolt