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Microsofts proposed AI backpack is an easy, boring idea

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We had AI assistants in smart speakers, phones, TVs and even cars. But your backpack isn’t for you? This is a new territory, and Microsoft is staking a claim through a new patent.

As seen by Neowin, the patent was filed on May 2nd, 2012. The patent says that it is designed to withstand artificial intelligence. An example backpack may include sensors, such as a microphone or a camera. The backpack might receive the contextual voice command from a user.

The patent is a long-standing skier considering to go off the trail. And his backpack gave him advice on not to go off. There are also sensors, such as a camera and a microphone, that were infected with in the backpack’s straps. It’s a clever idea, given the use of the sensors can naturally refer to what was in front of the user. Like many AI services, Microsoft suggested the AI backpack would connect to the cloud, passing the information back and forth and informing the user.

Take a step back, but that question does appear to be, why? We live in a world of fitness bands and smartwatches, and, amazingly, phones, with built-in sensors and persistent wireless connections to the cloud, assuming there’s a cellular connection. It is not certain that the backpack manufacturer could include an emergency satellite connection in the backcountry, for example, as it did the Apple iPhone. And yes, it’s simple, don’t skiers need to remove their gloves, fish out their phone, and take a picture of the road in question. Still.

Let’s face it: Microsoft has had hard time making wearables. The Microsoft Band and Microsoft Band 2 were much earlier, debuting last a decade on their debut with the first iterations of Apple and Googles Wear, and the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. To be fair, both platforms went through the first hurdle until the Apple Watch debut in 2015 gave the platform a legitimity. The Apple Watch and the Android-only range of watches are alive yet, with the announcement that Microsoft discontinued the Band in 2016 and offered a refund in 2019. Although clunky, the Band platform offer both good performance tracking (including sleep and an altimeter sensor for stairs climbing), as well as the integration with Microsoft Office apps.

And let’s face it: Microsoft didn’t have very much luck in mobile phones. Since Microsoft failed to find a market for Lumia and Windows 10 Mobile platforms, Microsoft lost one of its Windows 10 Mobile products in 2019.

And now it’s a joke, it’s not like Microsoft has had much luck with AI assistants. Microsoft’s relationship with Harman Kardon was tragic in 2021, when the company helped fund the Cortana AI assistant. In Windows, Microsoft moved to a dumb app called Windows 11 to kill Cortana this summer.

What this means is that very few products and applications Microsoft hasnt tried putting AI into, without later abandoning everything. Backpacks? Good, why not? Patents are patents, so you won’t see a desktop-based backpack any more. Why doesn’t Microsoft try that?


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