Microsoft’s patent titled 'Transitioning into a VR environment and warning HMD users of real-world physical obstacles' was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The new system is going to solve two problems of using a VR headset – transitioning from the real-world environment to the VR setting and being aware of physical obstacles appearing in front of a user.
Speaking of the first feature, Microsoft proposes the idea of a smooth transition from the real to the VR world because the existing system is quite stressful and disorienting, especially for inexperienced VR users. Pass-through cameras attempt to solve this problem by capturing the real-world image and displaying it on the user's head-mounted display. Microsoft, however, suggests that for an even easier transition a virtual replica of the user's environment is needed. This way, the user can start off by getting comfortable viewing a digital version of a familiar space and then a triggering event will take them to virtual reality.
The second feature will decrease hazard risks when diving into virtual reality. Microsoft suggests that headset sensors can be used to continuously track real-world objects surrounding the player and transfer them into VR if they are too close to the user. This is not limited to walls, doors, or pieces of furniture but also includes detecting pets or people that might get too close to the user.
Although a sudden insertion of a random real-world object in VR might seem distracting and even bad for the intensity of immersion, this makes the experience much safer.