Microsoft has recently been awarded a patent to install hot-swappable battery functionality into a future pair of augmented reality (AR) smart glasses, reports revealed.

According to MSPowerUser, Microsoft published the patents on 5 October, revealing a potentially strong competitor to current smart glass providers with its modular design.

The tech giant’s patent shows that the device includes internal charging storage, allowing users to continue using the device for extended periods even after the main battery is fully empty.

It also outlines several configurations for the modular design, with one indicating a battery in the smart glasses temple piece, the report continued. It would then use an electrical connector to supply power to the rest of the smart glasses but facilitate easy removals and replacements when needed.

The patent stated,

“Further designs show detachable earpieces, allowing the wearer to use the future head-mounted display (HMD) without batteries. One example provides a wearable device comprising a frame configured to support the wearable device on a user, internal charge storage located within the frame, a module interface located on the frame, and an electrical connector located within the module interface such that that detachable module is replaceable while being worn without powering down the wearable device by operating the wearable device using the internal charging storage”

Furthermore, the device can also connect to external devices. These include backpacks, belts, and necklaces to increase its computing and memory capacity, among others.

Updates from across the AR Smart Glass Arena

The news on Microsoft’s future AR smart glasses comes amid a wave of new product innovations in the AR smart glasses market. Firms such as Apple, Meta Platforms, Rokid Air, Xiaomi, and Brilliant Labs have released versions of their smart glass products.

For example, patents from Apple revealed AR smart glasses capable of complementing the Cupertino-based tech giant’s upcoming Vision Pro mixed reality (MR) headset.

Filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) showed the firm’s plans for the device, which included a digital crown to control notifications, music, images, and others. It will also tether to iPhones and devices while synchronising with Apple Watches and AirPods, significantly boosting the Apple ecosystem’s functionality.

Furthermore, Luxshare recently teamed up with Apple to facilitate new pancake lenses for the upcoming smart glasses, leading to cheaper costs for the firm. This comes after Taiwanese tech manufacturer Pegatron backed out of producing components for the US tech company.

Meta Meets Microsoft, Apple with Future Wearables

However, rival firm Meta Platforms unveiled new iterations of its Ray-Ban stories smart glasses at the Meta Connect 2023 event in Menlo Park, California, USA.

At the annual conference, developers and executives from the company revealed the next step of its smart glass journey with generative artificial intelligence (AI). Leveraging Meta’s AI Studio technologies, people using the wearables can identify objects, receive voice prompts, control music and communications, and read messages.

The metaverse company has also stated the Ray-Ban stories will also lead to a future AR smart glass device. At his keynote, Zuckerberg noted: “I think smart glasses are going to be an important platform for the future. Not only because they’re a natural way to put holograms in the world so we can put digital objects in our physical space.

He added that smart glasses were the “ideal form factor” for users to allow AI assistants to “see what you’re seeing and hear what you’re hearing.”