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Microsoft Says Goodbye GUI, Hello MUI

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the bsod-you-can-feel dept.

Microsoft 79

theodp writes "On New Year's Eve, the USPTO revealed that Microsoft is seeking patents for controlling a computer by simply flexing a muscle. Microsoft proposes using Electromyography (EMG) sensors and a wired or wireless human-computer interface to interact with computing systems and attached devices via electrical signals generated by specific movement of the user's muscles. 'It is important to consider mechanisms for acquiring human input that may not necessarily require direct manipulation of a physical implement,' explained the inventors. 'For example, drivers attempting to query their vehicle navigation systems may find it advantageous to be able to do so without removing their hands from the steering wheel, and a person in a meeting may want to unobtrusively communicate with someone outside. Also, since physical computer input devices have been shown to be prone to collecting microbial contamination in sterile environments, techniques that alleviate the need for these implements could be useful in surgical and clean room settings.'"

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Do you hear that? (4, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613762)

It's the sound of all the slashdotters coming on the idea of not having to use a mouse when porn surfing. Just move your, eh, muscle to the direction.

Re:Do you hear that? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615118)

Don't you mean move your erection in the direction?

Re:Do you hear that? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30618996)

It all depends on the angle of the dangle, and the heat of the meat.

Re:Do you hear that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615422)

It's a little early to be coming on the idea, don't you think?

Re:Do you hear that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30616534)

Most of us here are, sadly, experts at coming early.

Re:Do you hear that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30616998)

Just move your, eh, muscle to the direction.

But my picture keeps jumping -- does this thing have a vertical hold function like on old TVs?

So this is how it begins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30613784)

Coming soon: "Microsoft Borg"

Ah, Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30613824)

Ah, Microsoft. Solving problems like undistracted driving and lax corporate espionage since 1975. May you never change.

MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (0)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613850)

Almost all technology shrinks in size until it is reduced to only the components which interact with the human. E.g. the shape of the cellphone is now 100% dictated by usability. There are no more 'needs to be there to make it work' bits. This patent is going to be referenced EVERY SINGLE TIME an invention is reduced to the point where it can be inside a human body. This is a prime example of MS trying to be a gatekeeper. 2 gold coins to pass my bridge please!! etc.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (4, Insightful)

artg (24127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613976)

As an AC says below : there are already medical applications for computer-processed muscle signals for prosthetics. I wouldn't like to see Microsoft act as a gatekeeper there, especially as they aren't even responsible for the founding research.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614132)

Well considering the fact that MSFT spends over 5 billion [seattlepi.com] a year on R&D, with very little to show for it in the way of actual products hitting shelves, it would be nice if they actually had something to show for all that cash spent.

I mean I can understand completely why MSFT shareholders aren't too happy with them right now. All that cash blown and the stock has pretty much been flatline for the better part of a decade while Apple and Google exploded. The last thing I remember coming out of MSFT R&D was that PC table (surface I believe its called) and I know it reminds me of something...hmmm....where did I see an idea like that? Oh yeah a Disney movie [tron-sector.com] from 26 years ago.

Seriously, with 5 billion in cash a year, that's the best they can do? A PC table and a way to control your OnStar by flexing your wrists? At least if it has a medical use they can get something for it, but I doubt it will even make back 1/100th of what they've blown in R&D this year alone.

On the contrary! (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614392)

Well considering the fact that MSFT spends over 5 billion a year on R&D, with very little to show for it in the way of actual products hitting shelves, it would be nice if they actually had something to show for all that cash spent.

On the contrary, I'm delighted to hear that Microsoft is helping to neutralize itself by blowing billions on research that has no return on investment. Keep up the not-so-good work, guys!

Re:On the contrary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614888)

I'm not a fan of MSFT, but I'm enough of a fan of technological progress that unless they were really truly evil I wouldn't wish against their R&D efforts -- even more so considering that cutting R&D is one of those ideas that catches like a virus among the imbeciles running corporations here in the USA.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614646)

Ummm... if that $5b a year produces something like this, then it is totally worth it. Do you realize how many applications there are for a muscle-based input device? I can tell you right now using a home computer is probably least among them. We're talking things like prosthetics, a whole range of military applications, video games, and that's just scratching the surface. This is the kind of thing that can generate whole new industries.

If what they have is real MS will have made far more than they've spent on R&D for the past 5-10 years, maybe more. This is why you spend so much on R&D with no results for years - penny pinchers with no vision will kill the future of a company by killing its R&D program in the name of saving a few bucks a year. Idiots.

Furthermore, the core technologies, the ones developed by the R&D teams, in Vista and Windows 7 are fantastic. It was mostly political bullshit and poor design decisions that ruined Vista. They seem to have corrected the mistake with 7, and you get what I would argue is currently the most advanced OS on the market.

Look at Google - 95% of their income comes from their advertising revenues from adwords and searches. If they stopped all of their new research (chrome, android, etc), they would probably double their profits for the next two years. However, I doubt it would take more than three years before they started to decline, and after four or five they would be replaced by Bing as the biggest search engine on the net.

People who focus on this year only, and not on future potential, don't create great companies. They tend to be the ones who destroy them. God forbid your board of directors can see no further than the current quarter's earnings. That company is doomed.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615898)

"Ummm... if that $5b a year produces something like this, then it is totally worth it. Do you realize how many applications there are for a muscle-based input device?"

That mouse you're using to post to slashdot is a muscle-based input device. Without muscles, you couldn't click the button. Without muscles, you would not be able to move your eyes to read, nor would you be able to turn your head in any direction to even scan across letters or images.

Hate to say it but prior art goes back to the abacus. We've used our muscles for interacting with things since our very inception, even.

This is nonsense, at least if we keep with the typical hyped up slashdot summaries.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (2, Informative)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614962)

M$ isn't looking to return back on investment for one year, or even a few years when it comes from R&D. They're looking for another alchemist's stone, which has the power to turn bullshit into gold.

That's what they had with Windows and the home PC.

That's what they're searching for now.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615108)

Microsoft's stock doesn't need increase in value: unlike Google and Apple, they pay a regular dividend to their shareholders. If Google and Apple's stock doesn't go up, their shareholders don't make any money. And stock price itself is practically meaningless except relative to itself. The market capitalization of MSFT is substantially higher than AAPL or GOOG and if you compare their P/E ratios they're not that overvalued, unlike Google and Apple. What that means is as a shareholder you can buy MSFT stock today and the company's performance, and your consequent return, is immediately in line with what you paid for it. Buying Google and Apple stock is a basically a bet that those two companies are capable of 50%-100% growth over the next few years... or rather that you can find someone else who believes that. Note: I don't own stock in any of them.

The stock market is more complex than the high-growth tech stocks.

As for research, I used to agree with you, but they've finally announced a pretty significant application of a lot of their research: Project Natal. You may have heard of it.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615302)

Natal. You mean the reflex to the Wii? Yeah typical MS "innovation" indeed.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30616930)

Your argument might have more merit if there were any similarity between waving a wand and waving your hand holding nothing.

It may very well be that it is a reflex to the Wii, seeing success in something that some people decried early on as gimmicky meaning that Microsoft, too, can afford to deviate from the tried-and-true controller design.

But it is also, nevertheless, innovative. You'd have to be insane not to see that this is different from the Wiimote.

I don't know why I argue with somebody who names himself WiiVault.

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614262)

exactly. There is quite a bit of prior art for this at universities all over the world, hell its been on tv for at least the last 3 years (Scientific American Frontier with Alan Alda loves to do fluff pieces on technology research that could apply to the elderly or handicapped).

Re:MS love to be gatekeepers: This is a HUGE gate (1)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614582)

Im sorry. While we do have the technology to let your child walk properly, we are unable to sell or even give you a device, due to a cease & desist letter from Microsoft. While I know we invented it, 20 years later this XYZ company registered the patent. Im sorry, but we need to protect the rights of this multinational. Seriously, is this the scenario we want in 2010? I say we need a reform.

Rule 34 (0, Redundant)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613860)

Imagine the ungodly porn that will be developed for this technology... eeew!

Re:Rule 34 (1)

iron-kurton (891451) | more than 4 years ago | (#30616336)

Most popular technologies are popular precisely because of porn! It's a wet dream for any inventor to get noticed by the porn industry

MUI, so it's not graphical anymore? (5, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613872)

So blind people will be able to use this MUI (since their muscles work)? How does it relay things back via muscles? Oh wait, you mean it's still a GUI? After all, even a keyboard-controlled graphical UI is still a GUI, not a KUI. FFS.

Re:MUI, so it's not graphical anymore? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614014)

Slashdot's headline is misleading. It's not meant for blind people. It's meant to eliminate "Human-computer interactions" such as "mice, keyboards, pens, dials, and touch-sensitive surfaces" that require a "direct manipulation of a physical implement". It'll still require some type of visual input for the user.

Re:MUI, so it's not graphical anymore? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614274)

"It's not meant for blind people. It's meant to eliminate "Human-computer interactions" ...

I thought they already released Vista ...

Re:MUI, so it's not graphical anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614482)

As I read this, I couldn't help but, in my head, hearing the sound effect Mario makes in SMB 1 when he falls off of the cliff into a pit and the screen fades to black.

Bravo!

Re:MUI, so it's not graphical anymore? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615850)

Direct manipulation of a physical implement. So, we won't even have to flex our muscles? Just use our brains?

I think Sony was already in line for that patent, like 3 years ago.

Re:MUI, so it's not graphical anymore? (3, Funny)

kai_hiwatari (1642285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614066)

we already have MUI now. its controlled by the Mouse :p

Input/Output (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614184)

So blind people will be able to use this MUI (since their muscles work)? How does it relay things back via muscles? Oh wait, you mean it's still a GUI?

The keyboard and mouse are a form of muscular control.

So is the Wii controller. Project Natal.

That doesn't make alternative input device any less useful or significant.

I can hear the geek going into cardiac arrest if Microsoft did patent muscular feedback - and control.

Tech of enormous medical and military significance.

Unlimited commercial potential.

Re:MUI, so it's not graphical anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615062)

Some kind of lame subliminal attack on the GUI, the command line in reality is dying a slow death because most things are becoming automated.

For a tech site, there are some amazingly dumbed down articles that only seem to come around when they are against MS or have to do with Open Source. Take the pushing 'Linux agenda' elsewhere and stick to the tech.

Fails test of prior art (2, Funny)

Lewxuy (1706544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613882)

Anyone remember Q-branches invention of wrist muscle triggered darts? There has to have been loads of similar devices in science fiction! Just goes to show 90% of patents should never be approved.

Re:Fails test of prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615288)

Unfortunately our patent office doesn't treat science fiction as prior art because... it's fiction. For something to be prior art there needs to be a published method of actually doing it in our real world.

Patents are not about protecting inventors/visionaries, they're about protecting investors. That's why it's possible for a patent to name someone as the inventor and for that person to get nothing out of it but satisfaction.

Acknowledge the '+n Funny', but.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619170)

*start pedant mode*
Old news, new technology.
Watch some reruns of 'Wild, Wild West'{mid 1960's TV series}...The main character frequently uses a modified card sharp's mechanical device strapped to his inner wrists/forearms to deliver into his palm some tool to extricate himself[usually a Derringer], in lieu of a playing card.(the devise was based on a late 1800's device)
*/end pedant mode*

So it may have already been patented...and expired.

Hello, "ensemble coding"... (0)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613888)

...from Rainbows End, circa 2006.

I don't know whether to be happy or angry that Clarke set the precedent by not trying to claim ownership of the notion of geosync communication satellites. Ideas want to be free, but I'd love to see Vinge take Microsoft out behind the woodshed for this.

How sysadmin conversations will be different ... (2, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613910)

Linux Admin: Does Joe seem even more retarded to you lately?
Windows Admin: I told him not to install Service Pack 2 ...

Great in concept (4, Insightful)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613912)

...but probably terrible in implementation.

Calibration for each individual person's body type? Tech support that involves actual physical human contact? (shudder) Epileptics would lose all of their work with regularity.

In my mind, this is one of those things where we've already made the intuitive leap to an input that makes sense and now people want to go back and think of something that takes more effort to replicate what we've already done in a more convoluted way.

Re:Great in concept (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614664)

You've got to be retarded if you think this will be used in an office setting.

I hope the EMG they use (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613914)

Isn't the one where the put fine needles straight into your muscles.

Re:I hope the EMG they use (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614092)

I had several EMG's in hospital this year, including the ones where they send electrical shocks through the nerves, to measure conducting velocity. These are very painful tests. With this patent, Microsoft extends its monopoly on torturing users, I suppose.
I was diagnosed with a disease that makes the nerves slower, disconnecting them in the end. I guess that means that I will not be able to use the MUI of Windows 2013. Never mind, it will be a pleasure to use Linux or MacOS only.

Re:I hope the EMG they use (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614872)

Can you use any muscles? I imagine you must, because you can communicate here on slashdot which requires moving muscles in some way.

Furthermore, what kind of an idiot would want to use this on a home computer? Other than a nerd with a 12 year old mindset about using new tech toys because "their frickin shweet man!"

This is going to be used in things like prosthetics, in a plethora of military applications, to operate a cell phone, gps, or computer in your car without having to take your hands off the wheel, etc.

You know it just amazes me how trapped in your own little world you *nix fanboys are. There is life outside the desktop man, and there are a hell of a lot more places to use a computer than in your basement. You need to broaden your horizons a bit, mmkay?

Note: I am not a Microsoft fanboy, in fact I used to be vehemantly anti-Microsoft. I've mellowed since I realized how many people trash Microsoft based on other people's experiences, or just because they are the "big bad guy". If you look at things a bit more fairly, you can much better discern between what is bullshit and what isn't. Frankly, there is a hell of a lot of bullshit here on slashdot.

Re:I hope the EMG they use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30617280)

... without having to take your hands off the wheel, etc.

... off someone else's crotch, you mean.

New platforms? (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613918)

Wow, never thought I'd see MS releasing software for the Amiga [sasg.com] !

This is absurd (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30613928)

I've been reading about various electical and muscle interfaces to computers for decades (Usually in regard to medical devices, but not always). The notion that Microsoft is developing something new and non-obvious is absurd. Have they no shame? Well, we know the answer to that.

Re:This is absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30620046)

Are you a moron? Well, we know the answer to that.

It has been done (2, Insightful)

john.r.strohm (586791) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613948)

Many years ago, at a RobotFest in Austin TX, I watched a dancer demonstrate triggering of multiple MIDI-controlled musical instruments from EMG sensors.

He danced, and the instruments played NON-preprogrammed accompaniment to his dance. If you watched CAREFULLY, you could see which muscle movements were triggering which sounds.

And he was GOOD. He'd obviously spent a LOT of years learning dance, and he'd obviously spent quite a bit of time mastering his new instruments.

Re:It has been done (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613968)

Yes, I saw this at a CHI conference. I think it would've been '92 or '93. SF was there first, again; Spider Robinson had someone "dancing the drums" in Night of Power, 1985.

Yes Prior Art Abounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614390)

The idea and the technology have been in use for some years now in support of various kinds of diasbility. At least in the UK and Europe. Stephen Hawking's support and work equipment is but one example of such but he is not the first. Is this another case of the US and Microsoft, in particular, taking somebody else's work and patenting it even if it has been around for years?

Re:It has been done (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619248)

Any hope of a youtube link? Or more specific info to search?

I'm serious, that sounds awesome.

Hmmm...the possibilities now days....

I'm tingling with anticipation (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30613998)

One of the applications essentially claims a classifier to learn the signals corresponding to various movements, and then classifies unknown inputs to indicate what movements they correspond to. That one is extremely well-known, and it'll hinge on whether Microsoft managed to think of some specific signal feature not mentioned in the prior art. Personally, I would bet that one's dead in the water, but you can never be sure without doing a proper search.

The other one essentially claims a wearable device with EMG sensors. That one is going to hinge on one of the various automatic features they've claimed that distinguishes it from all the different prosthetic devices that have EMG sensors mounted in them.

Leading the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614032)

as always

This Sounds familiar: (1)

mikerubin (449692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614046)

" and a person in a meeting may want to unobtrusively communicate with someone outside"
This sounds like that sign/hand/body language the Bene Gesserit used in Dune

Much more fun (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614080)

Well, I can think of something else I could use to query the navigation system while keeping my hands on the wheel. Granted, it's not usually used for communicating with a computer, but it does have a high bandwidth input and output interface, and it's way more fun than trying to flex my nonexistent muscles. And the collaborative mode really rocks.

Can anyone say... (3, Insightful)

transami (202700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614090)

Prior Art? [google.com]

Re:Can anyone say... (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615388)

Prior Art? [google.com]

Precisely! They've been doing this in prosthetic limbs for quite some time. Obviously those types of prosthetic limbs have computers inside of them. So doesn't sound terribly original to me.

I thought we all knew... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614094)

... that all Microsoft programmers were Under the Influence when they program.

Bad Karma (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614106)

Microsoft had been hit by hardware bugs (faulty hardware, pentium bug, etc), software bugs (don't know from where to start) and they are ensuring now they will be hit by bugs by the old definition. A simple fly could force you to move a lot of muscles, and your corporate database will be gone.

And could be far worse. You face some critical app, you know that you should not even think on moving that muscle and, of course, you will..

And will be interesting to see what happens with people that can't move certain muscles or do some combos, like i.e. doing the vulcan greeting, or closing just one eye... the new generation of computer disabled people is in the making.

Re:Bad Karma (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614322)

And don't forget their track record with voice recognition [youtube.com] . I wonder what the muscle activated equivalent of "Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all" is?

Re:Bad Karma (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619282)

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one.
Combine that with WGA, and I shudder....

Re:Bad Karma (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30616678)

AaaaaCHhoooooo! Damn! back to square one.

Flexing their muscle! (1)

portnux (630256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614138)

Because if there is anything they understand in Redmond, it's getting things done by flexing a little muscle.

John (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614144)

Can you really patent this ? We've been playing with this stuff just for fun over in neuroscience land for years, controlling the computer mouse etc. I'd say this is... an obvious and anticipated invention ?

Hopefully they do some engineering and create some novel, easier to use system, so they actually deserve this patent.

Prior art, surely... (2, Informative)

Treffster (1037980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614150)

With half a minute of google searching, I found half a dozen references to experiments already using Electromyography to drive computer behaviour.

I remembered that most of the new work on prosthetic arms these days focuses on using EMG to drive the arm behaviour (including Dean Kamen's new bionic arm), and there's a bunch of stuff done (and papers released) with driving the mouse for people with disabilities.

Surely this patent application has to be thrown out, and isn't Microsoft just wasting the Patent Office (and our) time with applications that are so easily shown to have been demonstrated before?

Look Ma, No Pen! Electrical Impulses Can Reproduce Handwriting [virishi.net]
SmartHand: Merging Mind and Machine [hplusmagazine.com]
Application of facial electromyography in computer mouse access for people with disabilities [informaworld.com]
Demonstrating the feasibility of using forearm electromyography for muscle-computer interfaces [acm.org]
Electromyography sensor based control for a hand exoskeleton [ieee.org]

What's the original part here? The patent application does not specify any specific software application (just talks about interpreting the signals), so all the prior art should hold.

More like "captured regulators" (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614666)

I can imagine that someone at the Patent Office wants a job at Microsoft when they graduate.

RE: (1)

jmpeax (936370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614178)

Sounds great. Hope they don't get the patent.

I could Just see the Advertising (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614192)

The current MS PR team could use Olivia Newton John's "Lets Get Physical" as a launch theme song, then hire on Arnold Schwarzenegger to host ads about the new user interface, which leads to the use of the term "No Pain, No Gain" for users having to do contortions for some operations.

They could call the MUI OS "MS Fit" I guess (heh that really works to... Monkey dance, throwing chairs, etc. yeah!) :-D

Or Alice Cooper... (3, Funny)

theodp (442580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614296)

...Muscle of Love [amazon.com]

Arnold vs BSOD (3, Funny)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614248)

Now I imagine a new movie, where Arnold Schwarzenegger defeats the BSOD by the might of his muscles alone. (Of course, it may not work as well now, since he's the flabby Governator.)

Hummm (1)

Peter Nikolic (1093513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614352)

Never mind the darn porn crawlers i am sure there is prior art to stomp this out before the M$ Corp con machine has got chance to claim yet another thing it has no rights to .

What use? (2, Insightful)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614568)

Despite the examples given in the parent, I can't honestly think of a single practical use for an input device like this (as has been mentioned, Microsoft has a really warped idea of what qualifies as a "GUI"). I mean what would you use it for? A mouse may not be the perfect hardware for controlling your virtual world, but it's amazingly versatile. You can also let go of a mouse. I can just imagine a surgeon using this and then having to sneeze, or playing WoW with your new MUI device getting killed because you had to scratch your nose during combat. Driving?! Are they insane?? If you're not moving your hands from the wheel, what part of you IS moving?! I don't often flex my muscles while driving as that can often lead to involuntary sudden deceleration.

Echos of Videodisc and Polarvision (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614790)

RCA and Polaroid achieved a great level of wealth through introduction of new technologies in media and film, and having done so, spent their energies at the peak of their wealth employing the very finest minds researching and perfecting that "next big thing", that unfortunately for them, nobody wanted. Microsoft seems to be going down the same exact path.

question (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614814)

what kind of a computer response would you get by tightening your anal sphincter?

It was bound to happen. (1)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614846)

Microsoft is seeking patents for controlling a computer by simply flexing a muscle.

Microsoft has been controlling computers for years by flexing its muscles.

Prior Art (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614850)

Research into this has been going on for quite some time in the area of artificial limb control by amputees. DARPA has been doing quite a bit of research in this area, as described in the book "The Department of mad Scientists" [slashdot.org] .

Or People Could Just Learn to Type (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614928)

Seriously, why not just invest some time learning how to properly use the keyboard? People are always looking for something, like voice to text, that will allow them to be as proficient as their peers without having to learn to type. If muscle controls are anything like speech to text software the training sessions alone are going to take almost as much time as just learning to type. They should just pick up a copy of mavis beacon [wikipedia.org] and have at it (which wouldn't have been necessary now had they actually paid attention in their high school typing or computer classes).

Re:Or People Could Just Learn to Type (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30617978)

"Seriously, why not just invest some time learning how to properly use the keyboard? People are always looking for something, like voice to text, that will allow them to be as proficient as their peers without having to learn to type."

One problem, how do I type the command that instructs my bionic arms to type commands.

In other news... (1)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30618548)

Microsoft reaches new heights in their attempts to remain "important." They've tried to be the only ones who can build an operating system but those "smelly long-haired" guys have turned out a very good alternative. Microsoft's attempt to take over web browsing seems to have faltered and the open-source alternative is becoming more popular every day. The "office productivity" class has resulted in a very competent and free alternative to Microsoft's overpriced package.

Maybe some day our Slashdot editors will be able to resist the urge to post a Microsoft public relations puff piece. Until then, let's keep in mind what we know about this company and not let their thinly disguised advertisements impress us.

WTF does this have to do with my online rights? (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30618728)

What does this have to do with my rights online?

Reminiscent of WinFS anyone? (1)

aaron.w.ball (1653777) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620254)

I don't wanna be Johnny Raincloud here but this sounds to me like it's a bit outside of Microsoft's reach.
Perhaps in the future this is a feasible thing but I think for the foreseeable future computer-human interfaces will be limited to mice, keyboards, and touch screens.
Voice control isn't even near up-to-par with manual input. Something tells me that a muscle controlled computers are a bit beyond that, not to mention the impracticality of having to hook yourself up to your computer every time you want to use it.

... I can see it now...I hook up while cooking dinner and end up deleting my kernel64.dll file. :)
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