A patent filed by Microsoft for spectacles that incorporate augmented reality (AR) transmission devices has been released in the public domain.

The patent itself had originally been filed back in May 2011.

AR technology, which functions by superimposing information sourced direct from the internet over an otherwise standard viewpoint, has thus far been activated mainly by viewing an image using a web-enabled mobile device.

The attraction of AR to both marketers and promoters has largely been its ability to ‘bring to life’, or add extra detail directly to, a two-dimensional image.

The AR spectacles patented by Microsoft enable the technology to enhance the viewing experience of the wearer during live occasions, such as a sports match – whereby match statistics or player information would appear in real time in the wearer’s field of vision.

Microsoft’s patent envisages the main operating mechanism of the spectacles either being housed within a computer worn on the wrist, or controlled via the wearer’s speech or eye movements.

Microsoft’s foray into AR-enabled spectacles is however not the only venture of its kind in the pipeline.

Google is currently working on a similar development under the name ‘Project Glass’ – and plans to release its finished AR-powered glasses to the public in 2014.

Similar devices are also being developed by some lesser well-known companies – including TTP, Explore Engage, and Vuzix.

A recent study by Juniper Research concluded that ‘tech wear’ such as AR-enabled spectacles could generate a market worth £940 million by 2014, and that the value of this market could soar in 2015 onwards.