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A Vibrating 'Floor Mat' is Microsoft's Latest Patent to Enhance the VR Experience

Representative image. (Photo: Reuters)

Representative image. (Photo: Reuters)

The VR floor mat will offer some sort of haptic feedback, when it detects a player straying outside the control area.

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To keep virtual reality users within a designated space and heighten their digital experience, Microsoft has patented an activity mat that modifies their virtual experience to keep them within its boundaries. Though virtual reality headsets often warn the wearer when they're straying too much from their original position, Microsoft patented a product concept that could further help users avoid tripping over or breaking anything.

Late last week, the company filed a patent for a "Virtual Reality Floor Mat Activity Region." This mat would connect wirelessly to a "head-mounted display device" potentially placed on VR headset to modify the user's virtual experience to keep them within this designated area; essentially, "the virtual reality experience is selectively augmented based on the positioning of the physical subject identified relative to the activity region."

To do so, the mat collects information about an individual's location via pressure sensors integrated into the device. If the user gets too close to one of the mat's edges, it would inform them via a visual, auditory, or haptic alert. The patent further outlines the idea to integrate at least one vibration device into the mat to "augment the virtual reality experience." How exactly the device will augment a user's experience is not disclosed in the filing.

As this concept is simply outlined in a patent, whether or not Microsoft has plans to develop it into a commercial product is unknown. Nevertheless, such information suggests that the company may be interested in bringing VR to the Xbox ecosystem.

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