Microsoft patents wearable controller

A Microsoft patent for wearable sensors which detect electrical signals generated by muscles could hint at future control systems for the company's consoles and other hardware.

The patent filed in March for "a wearable device having a set of electromyography (EMG) sensor nodes for detecting a user's muscle-generated electrical signals for interacting with and/or controlling general purpose computing devices ... game consoles, televisions or other multimedia devices" was discovered by IGN.

The patent covers sensors which could be inserted into armbands, wristwatches, or other articles of clothing to detect muscular impulses. The patent states the device will be able to automatically calibrate itself with a visual guide and support user-defined gestures. Several examples were given of how this technology might come in handy.

"... As computing and digital information becomes integrated into everyday environments, situations arise where it may be inconvenient or difficult to use hands to directly manipulate an input device. For example, a driver attempting to query a vehicle navigation system might find it helpful to be able to do so without removing his or her hands from the steering wheel. Further, a person in a meeting may wish to unobtrusively and perhaps invisibly interact with a computing device."

While the patent is open ended, it does repeatedly reference the device as a useful method to control games. What Microsoft will do with this patent, and how soon users might be able to flip through Xbox Live with a twitch of their eyebrows, remains to be seen.


  • rudy-lopez - September 19, 2012 4:35 p.m.

    I think it's cool to try and think forward, but what the f... is wrong with the standard gamepads? i mean, it seems like they can't scrap them fast enough!! i love grabbing my controller and relax by playing, if i want to wave or move i can always go and take a walk or something.
  • Scoob - September 19, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    This news story should have had a link to this clip from the oscar winning movie, The Wizard:
  • shawksta - September 19, 2012 2:09 p.m.

    So basically, a odern overall literal sense and meaning through impulse means, of the Power Glove. Sounds brilliant if done right but it's not gonna be easy and MUCH harder than motion control
  • Scuffles - September 19, 2012 9:56 a.m.

    So in short MS is trying to patent (For a game console) the type of tech they have been using for decades in prosthetics.... everybody stand back I can feel the "innovation" from here.
  • BladedFalcon - September 19, 2012 8:57 a.m.

    The idea behind this is intriguing, and done right it COULD surpass a controller in terms of raw reaction time response... But I honestly don't see it being done right any time soon.
  • robertpopovic - September 19, 2012 8:18 a.m.

    I always did say that with the current technology we could make a power glove that would be so bad!
  • vent - September 19, 2012 8 a.m.

    Well it's good to see that Microsoft is looking forward into the future and trying to innovate new technology, instead of just waiting to see what Nintendo is doing and trying to come up with a poor imitation. Unfortunately, in order to detect muscle impulses, the user would have to have muscles, sadly leaving out most gamers...
  • Net_Bastard - September 19, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    You kinda need muscles to move. This is basic high school biology here, come on.

Showing 1-8 of 8 comments

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