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.

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