This new patent appears to show that the mat will double as a boundary for your VR gaming space. This could then be integrated into the system to enable the virtual reality headset to monitor where you are and act as a border for the play space.
Hints from the patent filing and included images suggest this system might also work with console and a Kinect style camera. Though there's been no official mention of VR for Xbox from Microsoft.
- The best VR headsets to buy: Top virtual reality gear
- Project Scarlett specs, release date and price: Everything you need to know about Xbox Two
The patent also explains that the mat could also make this more immersive thanks to haptic feedback:
"The floor mat may include one or more vibration devices integrated into the floor mat to generate vibration at the floor mat; and the virtual reality experience may be augmented by generating vibration at the floor mat via at least one vibration device of the one or more vibration devices."
This could be used in a variety of ways, perhaps making movement in VR more immersive by giving feedback through your feet as you walk around.
The patent also suggests this new system may well be expandable too. It could be available as interlocking floor tiles where you can add extra floor space when you need to or if you have the space.
Of course, the main highlight of this floor mat system would be protecting the user and the surroundings. It'll be easier to know the boundaries of you playspace if you can feel it beneath your feet. It's far too easy to get lost in the real one when you're engrossed in the virtual one - putting precious household objects and other people at risk.
Other members of the household will also have a visual clue of where you're playing and where to avoid walking, which is certainly a safety enhancement.
It is, however, just a patent and not a guarantee that any device is coming any time soon.