Feeds

Microsoft's muscle-interface patent gets under your skin

Computers get really personal

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.