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Microsoft patents an augmented reality wand

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Microsoft has been working on its Windows Mixed Reality headsets for most of the year, but we haven’t heard much about the company’s plans with HoloLens. The software giant unveiled VR motion controllers earlier this year, for Mixed Reality headsets, and now it looks like Microsoft is working on a wand-like controller for augmented reality and HoloLens. A patent filing, spotted by WalkingCat, reveals an accessory that looks like wand and has buttons, a trigger, and a finger guard.

It looks similar to Google’s Draw accessory for Google Glass, and expands on the controls available with the HoloLens clicker. Microsoft first filed its patent in June last year, the same day the company published its Windows Mixed Reality vision video. In the video you can see what appears to be this wand-like device in action, being used with to articulate hand tracking with a HTC Vive VR headset. It’s likely that this is simply a reference device that Microsoft has been testing with partners, but it could hint that the company is planning accessories that work across various VR headsets.

Microsoft is planning to launch a range of Mixed Reality headsets from partners including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. later this year. The headsets will be priced below existing VR devices, with Acer’s unit starting at $299. Microsoft is focusing on six degrees of freedom tracking without the need for traditional external sensors placed throughout a room. The minimum specs for Microsoft’s Mixed Reality platform also indicate most PCs will be capable of running the most basic apps and games.