A newly published Microsoft Patent shows how two magnets can be used to manipulate attraction to create forces for the wearer when using VR.
It is clear that behind the scenes, Microsoft is attempting to solve some of the main issues facing virtual reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). Through several patents, the company has show itself to be tackling numerous parts of the technology. The latest Microsoft patent shows an ingenious body suit that could improve VR immersion.
Microsoft describes the solution as a Flexible Magnetic Actuator. The company uses two layers of flexible magnets, which allows the magnetic attraction to be dynamically adjusted between layers. This makes it ideal as a wearable technology, for example woven into cloth or another fabric.
In the Microsoft Patent, the company explains how the controller could increase or decrease friction between the magnetic layers. Alternatively, layers could be locked into place.
Microsoft says this will allow VR experiences to be more immersive. Actuators can be placed over joints so the user will feel real-world restrictions and movement when they manipulate virtual objects.
Microsoft has seemingly been working on this technology for some time. The company applied for the patent in June 2017, although it was only published this week.
As mentioned, Microsoft has been working on technology that solves some of the main usage issues in virtual reality. Back in September, a Microsoft Patent detailed a method for creating a 120 Hz refresh rate on head mounted displays (HMDs) that only support 60 Hz.
The “INCREASING EFFECTIVE UPDATE RATE FOR DEVICE DISPLAYS USED IN AUGMENTED REALITY HEAD MOUNT DEVICES“ patent would allow a headset to generate a new image per eye every 120th of a second. At best, current hardware can achieve a refresh rate of every 60th of a second for both eyes.