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Microsoft foresees AR tracking your keys, milk, entire life

A patent filing by Microsoft hints at tech that would automatically keep tabs on everyday objects so you don't have to.

This could be you, never losing your keys again.

Microsoft

Want a virtual assistant that means you won't lose anything ever again? A patent application filed by Microsoft hints at that future.

The technology described in the patent filing first spotted by MSPoweruser, published Thursday, would bring sophisticated, automatic object tracking to augmented reality. A cousin of VR, which creates an entirely digital experience, augmented (or mixed) reality blends the real and virtual worlds into a seamless experience -- think Pokemon Go.

One of the challenges for more advanced augmented reality is that a system would need to track not only you as a user, but also the other objects in your environment. Microsoft's patent document suggests a technology that would do just that. The new tech would fit neatly with Microsoft's own HoloLens augmented reality platform.

As AR becomes more common, it could lead to a future in which you can ask Cortana (or Siri or Alexa) where you left your shoes or if you're out of eggs.

"Much time may be spent in trying to locate misplaced objects. For example, searching for misplaced car keys, wallets, mobile devices, and the like may cause people to lose productive time. Likewise, forgetting that the milk carton in the home refrigerator is almost empty may lead to an extra trip to the store," the patent filing (application 20160373570) says.

Microsoft has projected that 80 million AR devices will be sold in 2020, compared to around 65 million VR devices. The tech is already being used to design cars and wow tech journalists.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.