Microsoft has presented the concept of a device with a virtual assistant that would be integrated into a portable computer (for example, a backpack equipped with sensors, microphones and cameras) and that would allow visually impaired people to receive data from the surrounding environment, understand it and respond to it.

This is reflected in a document presented by the technology company to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, where this invention is presented as “an AI-assisted smart wearable device that can function as a hands-free digital assistant.”

More specifically, this assistant can provide contextual commands that are related to the environment in which this user is located so that they can know it and have the opportunity to respond to it, according to the patent that Extreme Tech has advanced.

The company first indicates that, although there are different types of digital assistants, “they are not available or useful when users are on the move or away from home” and that many of them, including mobile phones, tablets or computers, require manual operations and for users to look at them. In this way, it suggests that people with visual disabilities cannot use them fully.

Likewise, the patent mentions that the use of conventional assistants “may be inconvenient when the user skis with gloves and holding ski poles,” or when riding a bicycle, among other activities.

Finally, Microsoft recognizes that these assistants cannot see what the user sees nor hear what the user hears, which also makes it difficult for the user to understand the real situation in which the person using it finds themselves.

To solve these problems, the technology firm has devised a portable device that, in turn, integrates a virtual assistant that uses artificial intelligence and that can be used in any environment hands-free.

This wearable could be used with voice commands and one or more auditory responses, visual and haptic feedback without distracting users from the tasks they are carrying out.

The assistant of this equipment can also receive contextual voice prompts from users with these special needs so that it has the ability to feel and interpret its environment in a natural and realistic way, according to the document.

In a series of sketches, Microsoft explains that the portable device, in addition to a backpack, could be carried on a hat, a pair of glasses, a bag, a suitcase, a piece of clothing or an accessory, that is, “any “thing that the user can carry, use or carry with him.”

To explain how this device works, the company uses the backpack as an example, which can include different buttons to turn on, turn off or suspend the assistant and that can also be used to pair it with another device.

The backpack would also be equipped with different infrared sensors (to determine the direction in which the user is looking), cameras and microphones integrated into the handles or straps that would allow the user to know what their orientation and the environment are. The equipment is being used.

As for the cameras, Microsoft says that they can record in color or black and white and that they can also be capable of collecting ultraviolet rays and X-rays, as well as have night vision for use at times of day with low lighting.

The recording files from these cameras – which can be activated or deactivated manually – can also be transmitted to a device (for example, a server) for storage and processing.

The microphones, for their part, would be placed on the straps or handles of the backpack that are closest to the mouth, as well as in other points of the mouth to receive information from other people’s speech, animal sounds, music or noises. Traffic, among others. These recordings could also be saved locally.

Other components that would help determine the situation in which the user is, and that Microsoft comments on in this patent are a compass, a GPS, an accelerometer; a thermometer, to detect the ambient temperature of the user’s environment; a barometer, to detect ambient pressure; and one or more biometric sensors, to detect the user’s heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar level, etc.

Depending on the configuration of the backpack and, depending on the needs of the users, it could be equipped with LED screens to indicate to other people that the user is talking to the digital assistant, as well as monitors, touch panels or flexible OLED screens.

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