New Microsoft patent shows off a floor mat for your virtual reality experiences

Attempting to roam through gigantic computer-generated worlds from your not very large living space poses a number of challenges to virtual reality – and a new patent from Microsoft promises to help you avoid colliding with real-world objects.

The patent discovered by Variety describes a floor mat that provides a margin for play. Your VR or AR headset can push the boundaries of the mat to see where you are and provide haptic feedback under your feet to help you meet those limits.

Not only can the mat prevent you from flipping the TV or standing on the cat, it can also make your feet humming to give feedback in the game. There are many possibilities that developers can use.

Inside the mat, pressure sensors could help determine a user's position in three-dimensional space, according to the patent, and reduce dependence on cameras and sensors aboard the VR / AR device for position tracking.

(Credit: USPTO / Microsoft)

Another idea that emerges from the patent is to have your own "starting point" in the middle of the mat – once the user is in that position, a particular game or experience (or whatever it is) can be in Take action.

If you have enough space in your living room, you can even join some of these mats together like tiles and cover a larger area, Microsoft suggests.

As always with patents, there is no guarantee that this will ever become an actual product that you can buy. These types of records give us an indication of the kind of technology companies that are considering further development.

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This is also an indication that Microsoft may still be thinking about virtual reality in terms of consoles, even though there is no VR headset for the current generation of Xbox One gaming machines. A mat like this may be available as an option for the upcoming Xbox update.

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