While Microsoft's main investment in sensor technology has been Kinect, the software maker hasn't ventured into wearable devices recently. With devices like Jawbone and Nike's FuelBand soaring in popularity, and Google's Glass set to debut later this year, there's clearly a shift towards wearable computing in general. Speaking at Microsoft's TechForum event this week, the company's president of the Interactive Entertainment Business responsible for Xbox, Don Mattrick, offered his own predictions for the future of wearable tech.
Sensors excite the head of Xbox
"My personal belief, 10 years from now, we'll be wearing 10 sensors on our body collecting data and applying that data to things that are valuable to us as users," said Mattrick. While he stopped short of any potential product announcements, he admitted he was personally "bullish" on the idea of home automation and sensors. Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's online services division, had presented his vision of Bing as a platform prior to Mattrick's comments. Lu sees Bing as a way for Microsoft to process information from sensors and other sources; what that'll mean for users isn't yet clear, but it's easy to imagine a Google Now-like service that indexes your entire life. Highlighting Lu's comments, Mattrick said he's "excited about thinking sensors, multiple screens, intelligence, the capabilities that Qi spoke about [Bing as a platform] in being a base to redefine what we do."
We understand that Microsoft has been testing a wrist-worn "Joule" heart rate monitor. The fitness accessory for Xbox and Windows has been described previously, by sources, as a flat touch screen accessory that sits on an inch-wide nylon arm band with bluetooth and GPS to track movement for Microsoft's Kinect PlayFit system. Alongside this accessory, previous leaks have suggested that Microsoft is investigating the idea of a Kinect Glasses scenario (known internally as Project Fortaleza) that would enable augmented reality for the next Xbox. Microsoft is toying with a number of Kinect-related research projects with wearable elements, so Mattrick's predictions hint that Microsoft is looking even further towards a future of wearable sensors. All that remains is for Microsoft to unveil its next-gen Xbox, with the possibility that it will set the stage and base for additional devices and peripherals.