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  • Apple, Microsoft "Muscling" Their Way Into New Computer Controls


    One day in the not so distant future we may look back on the present ways in which we control our computers and laugh. For now, however, it's difficult not to laugh at the prototypes for mechanisms we may soon use to control our computers. Following Apple’s "dynamic tactile feedback keyboard" patent that has generated so much talk, Microsoft is on the cutting edge of technology that could very well find its way to our Macs and PCs in the coming years.

    The Boy Genius Report is drawing attention this weekend to Microsoft's patent filing for "several methods of controlling a computer using Electromyography (EMG)." As you might expect, the technology enables muscle movement and its subsequent electrical activity to instruct our computers to execute the controls dictated by our initial movements.

    EMG technology is not new, it is used in some advanced prosthetic devices and is the technology behind the military’s research into EMG-controlled flight systems which allows a pilot to control his plane using EMG-based gestures. The Microsoft patent takes this technology and applies it to consumer devices describing, in one example, how a driver could interact with a vehicle navigation system without taking his/her hands off the steering wheel.
    Although the thought of being attached to electrodes isn't exactly profoundly enticing, such an arrangement would be required to utilize this technology. As the demo video illustrates, the "EMG-driven interaction" would mean our forearms, heads, chests, legs, etc. would all be wired for power and serve as a "full body mouse" (which is a term I coined, by the way.)

    The most exciting application would be in gaming. Think of Project Natal on steroids where you would don special gaming clothes embedded with EMG sensors and use your muscle movement to control your onscreen character.
    As cool as the technology may be, the question remains as to how practical it may be or what realistic function it could serve for basic consumer needs. But as the big boys in the tech-world (Apple, Microsoft, etc.) move in this direction, so too will the rest of us. Indeed, Apple and Microsoft are now dictating the course of consumer electronics and we are merely along for the ride.


    Image via BGR
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple, Microsoft "Muscling" Their Way Into New Computer Controls started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      A "full body mouse" sounds ridiculous. How much effort does it really take to move a mouse around or slide your finger...not much! How lazy can you get when it comes to using a computer? Now for games I can see how it could be cool, might actually be fun, minus the body hook-ups.
    1. ncnyxx13's Avatar
      ncnyxx13 -
      where is the video that you were talking about in the article
    1. MetallicaFan1991's Avatar
      MetallicaFan1991 -
      They might as well implement that new Xbox thing into PC's.
    1. SL4VE's Avatar
      SL4VE -
      THEY ARE...theres a concept vid on youtube [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_txF7iETX0]YouTube - Project Natal[/ame]
    1. A Retired Mod's Avatar
      A Retired Mod -
      Look I number #6....!!!!!!
    1. Bernie-Mac's Avatar
      Bernie-Mac -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zwayne View Post
      Look I number #6....!!!!!!
      NO ONE CARES! GOSH!!!!

      lol
    1. Peemcgee's Avatar
      Peemcgee -
      "how many push ups can chuck norris do?"
      lol...
    1. jdonn2009's Avatar
      jdonn2009 -
      everyone knows When Chuck Norris does push-ups, he doesn't push himself up. He pushes the Earth down!
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      It has possible applications but not in its current state...
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      HRRRMMMM...french fried taters....HHHRRRMM