Microsoft acquires VR headset patents for more than US$100m

31 Mar 2014

Designs of the headset and watch controller

Perhaps not wanting to be left behind in the virtual reality (VR) stakes, Microsoft has acquired the patent rights to the headset technology of Osterhout Design Group for US$100-US$150m.

It has been only a week since Facebook announced the purchase of Oculus VR, the company behind the VR headset the Oculus Rift, for US$2bn, and now TechCrunch has discovered that Microsoft bought more than 80 patents in January related to the technology in what appears to be the future of its Xbox One console.

The patents, which are available to view online, show rather impressive-looking technologies. For example, a pair of glasses which appear to take the Google Glass concept a step further by making the VR headset, currently a bulky piece of kit, into an easily wearable pair of glasses which can be turned on and off.

Another patent shows a wristwatch that looks like it comes from the set of Star Trek, which would act as the controller for the pair of glasses.

The discovery of Microsoft’s VR patents comes after it was reported in September last year that the company had been in direct discussions with Osterhout Design Group to buy its company or a significant portion of its assets.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic