Students and office workers who carry heavy laptops and a plethora of personal items with them every day rely on backpacks to hold their belongings. For those people, there’s good news: Microsoft may soon be infusing backpacks with artifical intelligence (AI) to take a backpack’s function to a new level.
The wearable would be able to do much more than your average smartwatch, with advanced capabilities such as scanning an environment, understanding voice commands, and performing contextual tasks.
To perform these tasks, the backpack would include pressure sensors, a microphone, a camera, a global positioning system (GPS), a compass, a barometer, biometric sensors, a speaker, a display for visual outputs, a processor, and more.
In the patent, Microsoft describes the functions of the potential backpack:
The backpack may receive a contextual voice command from a user. The contextual voice command may include a non-explicit reference to an object in an environment. The backpack may use the sensors to sense the environment, use an artificial intelligence engine to identify the object in the environment and use a digital assistant to perform a contextual task in response to the contextual voice command. The contextual task may relate to the object in the environment. The backpack may output a response to the contextual voice command to the user.
An example in the patent displays a skier who is wearing the AI backpack and asking it a question about the slopes, to which the backpack responds: “No. That direction is out of bounds. Ski to your right to stay inbounds.”
If you’re wondering whether the backpack is something you should expect at Microsoft’s September launch event, the answer is no. There is a long journey between filing a patent and producing the backpack, and that’s even if the product makes it to the production point.
In the past, Microsoft has filed several patents for products that never saw the light of day, including a trifold phone and headphones with a fingerprint sensor.
Although the AI backpack won’t make an appearance at the forthcoming event, Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP & consumer chief marketing officer at Microsoft, confirmed via an X post (formerly Twitter) that Microsoft will be sharing more about its AI innovations.