Feeds

Microsoft's muscle-interface patent gets under your skin

Computers get really personal

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Microsoft boffins have applied for patents that could let you control computer-based devices using electronic impulses from your muscles rather than fiddling with your fingers.

The company's research division has devised what it called a "Wearable Electromyography-Based Controller" that reads and understands electrical signals generated by movement in your muscles, to do things like change tracks on your music player or open your computerized car's locked door remotely.

Microsoft has applied for two patents, published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on December 31: one for the controller, and another for a system that recognizes gestures from EMG signals.

Microsoft Research demonstrated the controller in a video here, where users are unable to use their fingers properly to control or even use a device because they are either on the move or have their hands full.

Also, demonstrated is a wicked riff on Guitar Hero played air-guitar style with the player wearing just the controller and dispensing with the standard WiFi handset.

The EMG controller demonstrated uses a series of wires that are stuck Borg-like to the surface of the skin on the forearm. A wireless interface has also been built.

According to Microsoft's patent, the wearable controller decodes electrical signals produced by human muscular activity using surface Electromyography (sEMG) sensors.

"The resulting electrical signals provide a muscle-computer interface for use in controlling or interacting with one or more computing devices or other devices coupled to a computing device," the patent read.

The technology and patent applications, reveled by TechFlash, come from the branch of Microsoft that gave us Surface, the Windows-based table that responds to touch and gesture input from different people simultaneously. The EMG work comes as Microsoft has been building Natal, the company's answer to Nintendo's Wii that dispenses with a handset controller for wireless and motion-based interaction with Xbox games.

You seen see both patents here and here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.