Microsoft patents wearable EMG-based computing device

Wearable computing devices seem to be all the rage recently; witness the massive media response to the Google Glass project. Now Engadget reports that Microsoft has been awarded a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office that uses electromyography (EMG) technology for controlling hardware in combination with body parts and movement.

The patent filing describes how the product uses sensors that can be placed in a number of locations on a human body, including the head, arms, chest and legs. Those sensors can then be made to pick electrical signals that are created by a person's muscles in those areas. The signals can then be sent to a computing device.

Such a product could be made to calculate actions based on specific motions and gestures in a person's body which can be used to command certain functions in a hardware device. Obviously, such a wearable computing system could be used for a number of medical or fitness applications but they could also, in theory be used for gaming and even regular smartphone or PC work.

Microsoft frequently files patents but many times an actual physical product is never created so don't hold your breath and expect to be wearing EMG sensors anytime soon. However, such research could be used for future Microsoft product launches that will incorporate parts of the patent.

Image via Microsoft

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25 Comments

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I'm going to patent the warp drive now so I can corner the market when it comes out. Oh, and dark matter.

KCRic said,
I'm going to patent the warp drive now so I can corner the market when it comes out. Oh, and dark matter.

Too late, go search "Alcubierre drive"

New KNECT anyone? I will say one thing. The things that Microsoft are doing in terms of motion capture, are making quite a lot of potential professional animation tools available at consumer prices.

j2006 said,
Awesome. This would be extremely useful in the healthcare industry.

Microsoft already have a couple products in this industry so far so it wouldn't be such a stretch to think that they'll release an actual device.

wahoospa said,
Did they invent something or did they get a patent for the drawing?

MSR has been working in different prototypes of this for years now, you can find videos of different types out there done by them.

"Wearable computing devices seem to be all the rage recently"
Really? They've been working on this stuff for decades.

ahhell said,
"Wearable computing devices seem to be all the rage recently"
Really? They've been working on this stuff for decades.

most of the wearables I've seen deal with clothes, these pictures seems to be directly onto or inside the user's body

ctrl_alt_delete said,

most of the wearables I've seen deal with clothes, these pictures seems to be directly onto or inside the user's body

It's been in sci fi movies for ages ...

ctrl_alt_delete said,

most of the wearables I've seen deal with clothes, these pictures seems to be directly onto or inside the user's body

IBM had a project that was exactly what google has now, 15 years ago! and it was a working prototype... only problem was the computer was a backpack, the tech wasn't there yet to shrink it down to a good size... it used retnia scanning to project images on your retinas

What the hell? So they patent "things" which they might never release?
What if other companies want to actually release such things? Will they get hold back cause of Microsoft patents?

MariosX said,
What the hell? So they patent "things" which they might never release?
What if other companies want to actually release such things? Will they get hold back cause of Microsoft patents?

no they won't get "hold back" by these patents, all they have to do is license them or implements their work in such a way that doesn't infringe on Microsoft's patents. each patent has a number of bullet points that must be passed in order to infringe said patents. simple as that.

MariosX said,
What the hell? So they patent "things" which they might never release?
What if other companies want to actually release such things? Will they get hold back cause of Microsoft patents?

Patents in the long run are very valuable to a company, so of course they'll patent it. If others want to use the technology they'll have to get permission from MS.

Just because they never release it doesn't mean the technology wont be used in future products/services. Also, when you innovate you want to protect your findings before others snatch it up. So it's a smart move.

MariosX said,
What the hell? So they patent "things" which they might never release?
What if other companies want to actually release such things? Will they get hold back cause of Microsoft patents?

MS will sell or lease the patents for a lot of dosh.