Microsoft's AI-powered backpack approved for public feedback

The backpack also boasts a camera, microphone, speaker, network interface, processor, and storage, of course. 
Shubhangi Dua
Microsoft sign in front of headquarters
Microsoft to introduce AI-powered backpack

Jean-Luc Ichard/ iStock  

A person with poor vision heading to work faces many challenges, such as difficulty identifying the traffic lights. One day, the person is handed a backpack that is able to recognize the objects surrounding them, describing the people and stores nearby. 

Now, an innovation can help support individuals with multiple tasks through the tech giant – Microsoft’s latest innovation – an artificial intelligence (AI) endowed smart backpack. 

The company filed the patent in May and was recently cleared for public feedback by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

This announcement comes after Microsoft’s patent for a video pass-through headset similar to that of Apple was approved for public feedback in August. The patent for the headsets was filed in April 2021. 

AI-powered bag identifies surroundings

A statement by the tech firm emphasized that the new AI-backed backpack can identify objects in the environment, perform contextual tasks, access information from the cloud, and interact with other devices.

The holdall has also been equipped with a camera, microphone, speaker, network interface, processor, and storage. 

Microsoft stated: “Digital assistants are becoming more versatile due to advancements in computing. The present concepts relate to improvements in wearable digital assistants that can perform various tasks for the benefit of users.”

The Redmond-based organization’s patent application, alluding to the features of the innovation, provided an example of how it can be used in everyday life. 

The statement explains, “You can ask to bring it to ski and ask whether you can ski in the direction that you’re facing. The backpack will automatically scan the surroundings and tell you whether the direction is out of bounds or not.”

In another instance, Microsoft says that the wearer can stand in front of a concert poster and instruct the bag to add a reminder to the calendar for them to attend said concert. 

Hands-free digital assistant

The technology can also reveal the price of an item in grocery stores and even specify if the item is discounted or not, compare its price from one or two weeks ago to the present day, and compare it to costs at other stores, Microsoft claimed.

“The present concepts relate to an artificial intelligence-assisted smart wearable that can function as a hands-free digital assistant,” the company added.

“Moreover, the wearable may be context-aware such that a user can provide contextual commands that relate to the environment in which the user is situated and the wearable can understand the contextual command by sensing the environment and using artificial intelligence.”

In terms of the AI-powered wearable’s functionality, the process initiates the controls in six steps, starting with the wearer commanding the bag. It automatically senses the surroundings through different sensors, which then relay the information forward to the AI engine. 

The AI server picks up the information and interprets it via speech recognition and natural language processing. This process allows the AI software to answer the customer or bag owner in this scenario. 

It responds to the query and acknowledges the conformation of the tasks. Additionally, the AI tech will prompt the individual for more information in case the instructions were not clear the first time.

Bill Gates’ firm stated: “To be fair, there aren’t that many smart backpacks with AI in the market for now. Targus, the famous laptop bag maker, introduced their 15.6″ Cypress Hero Backpack last year. It has the whole shebang: a built-in Apple Find My technology, integrated rechargeable & replaceable battery, and more for $150.”

A technology such as this was produced by Intel in 2021. They introduced an AI-powered smart backpack fitted with a built-in GPS unit that helped the visually-impaired individuals.

According to ZDNet, the firm is planning to share more information about its AI innovations along with the introduction of the backpack at the company’s forthcoming September launch event.

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