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Microsoft Wants to Use Its Face Computer to Help You Build IKEA Furniture

·Technology Editor
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(Three Microsoft executives, perhaps celebrating their successful construction of a bookcase. Photo: Associated Press)

Ever since Microsoft unveiled the HoloLens, its forward-looking augmented reality headset, techies have been wondering what, besides gaming, the wired visor could be used for. 

Now, we might have a solid answer: Helping you build IKEA furniture without flying into a rage. 

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Via Smartup, Microsoft was recently granted a patent that would let it, among other things, overlay virtual instructions for how to build furniture over the furniture parts themselves. The Hololens is particularly well-suited for such a task: Instead of blocking off your vision, you look through the lens, and 3D digital objects are projected into the real world in front of you. 

So, if you’re looking at a bunch of scattered, splintered IKEA parts on the floor in front of you, the Hololens could let you visualize where each part goes. A camera on the device could identify each part, as the patent describes it, and then provide instructions. 

(The Hololens is never mentioned by name in the patent, but the writers describe a device that sure sounds a whole lot like one.)

And now the usual disclaimer: Every tech company files patents that it never uses or releases to the public. So this IKEA-assisting face computer software may never make it outside the lab. 

READ MORE: 19 Super Exciting Apple Patents for Products That Never Saw the Light of Day (2008-2011)

But this one at least sounds helpful! You can read the entire patent (if you are an insomniac) on the USPTO’s website