Microsoft Patents Wearable Smart Bracelet, Hints at Toys-To-Life Gaming on Xbox

Device enables Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and Amiibo-like experiences


Microsoft has submitted a patent for a wearable bracelet-like device that, among other applications, could be used for gaming experiences similar to toys-to-life titles such as Disney Infinity and Skylanders.

The patent was filed with the World International Patent Organisation in April 2015, but published on September 17, 2015. According to the information included in the document, the device is made up of "interactive smart beads" attached to a "connecting element."

Together, these two aspects of the device can translate interactions with compatible objects into graphical representations.

"The connecting element also autonomously generates interactions between two or more detected beads and transmits data about the interactions to a software experience so that a user can view a graphical representation of the interactions," it explains.

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"In various examples each bead represents a character, environment, object, etc. and the software experience displays an animated story based on the characters, environments, objects, etc. represented by the beads involved in an interaction."

Deeper into the patent, gaming experiences akin to Disney Infinity, Activision's Skyanders, and Nintendo's Amiibo, "have also been developed."

"Gameplay is enabled (or unlocked) through the use of physical character toys which are placed on a custom base connected to a games console," it explains.

"By placing different toys on the custom base, different gameplay is enabled."

Pictured: A breakdown of the unnamed wearable device
Pictured: A breakdown of the unnamed wearable device

Microsoft frequently patents technology that, in many cases, aren't released as commercial products. In 2004, it patented wearable controllers that were activated using electrical signals created by muscle movement. This was, in theory, to be used with games like Guitar Hero.

On the other hand, its patent for a virtual reality headset eventually led to the announcement of Hololens, the company's augmented reality device.

In May, 2015, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that its purchase of Minecraft developer Mojang was in part due to the potential benefits of marrying Minecraft and Hololens.

"Let's have a game that, in fact, will fundamentally help us change new categories," Nadella said. "HoloLens was very much in the works [when Microsoft announced the deal last year], and we knew it."

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