It is looking more likely that Microsoft might be releasing a new VR platform in the near future. Rumours have been pointing at virtual reality for the company's next-generation system. Adding fuel to the speculation was a recent report referencing the patent documents for accessories related to the aforementioned technology. Now, it is combining both VR and AR applications coming up with the DreamWalker project – bringing a fully immersive experience outdoors.

So far, most virtual reality and augmented reality offerings limit the interaction to a confined space. In contrast, Microsoft DreamWalker concept allows the user to take the system out on a stroll. GeekWire reports that it will make its public debut at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) 201, in New Orleans later this week.

DreamWalker as well as other VR related projects from Microsoft Research

— A Wojcicki (@pretendsmarts) October 21, 2019

The Redmond-based tech outfit has been tinkering around with AR for a while now and is likewise offering the HoloLens 2. It's second-generation mixed reality smartglasses is reportedly in use by several companies already. According to the documentation, "Provided with a real-world destination, DreamWalker finds a similar path in a pre-authored VR environment and guides the user while real walking the virtual world."

As with any other VR headset, its biggest challenge is coming up with safety measures for keeping the user away from hazards, thereby avoiding injuries. Since there are more obstacles outdoors, a complex array of sensors and programming allow the system to guide its users safely to their destination. It apparently achieves this by using GPS locations, RGB-D imaging possibly from the Kinect, and inside-out-tracking.

Walk out your front door & into a whole new city. Using path planning & real-time environment detection, the DreamWalker VR system can transform a routine walk from point A to point B into a journey through a place you’ve always wanted to see: #UIST2019

— Microsoft Research (@MSFTResearch) October 21, 2019

Microsoft has been testing the prototype within its campus and the results appear promising. Participants were instructed to walk around with the gear as they were treated to a virtual representation of Manhattan. In that simulated world, there were animated elements such as people, cars and objects.

Multi-purpose #haptic controllers are just one of the Microsoft Research submissions being featured at #CHI2018. Discover how they can deliver truly immersive and convincing tactile experiences to users in #VR:

— Microsoft Research (@MSFTResearch) April 17, 2018

DreamWalker is not the only project Microsoft is showcasing at the event. Sources point out innovative eye-tracking technology and a haptic feedback controller also slated to make an appearance. Rumours are indicating the company is working on VR for the Xbox Scarlett to rival the next-generation PlayStation VR that is likewise speculated to launch alongside the Sony PS5.

Microsoft HoloLens
A narrow field of vison means not all of these holograms can be seen by the wearer at the same time Microsoft