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Microsoft Trying To Patent a 'Magic Wand' 157

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the also-patenting-bag-of-holding dept.
theodp writes "Newly-disclosed USPTO documents show that Microsoft is seeking patent protection for a 'Magic Wand,' a device with various gizmos and sensors that can manipulate and interact with its environment, including video and holographic images, while using biometrics to connect with the user. 'Even the most pragmatic individual,' explains Microsoft, 'would have trouble arguing against the merits or utility of, say, a magic wand that actually worked to control or communicate with objects or components in an associated nearby environment.' No doubt. The inventors include CXO/CTO J Allard, and Sr. Researcher Andy Wilson."
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Microsoft Trying To Patent a 'Magic Wand'

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  • by blahbooboo (839709) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:14PM (#27998303)

    Surely someone is going to point out the comparison to the original magic wand? I think this might prevent Micro$oft's patent as it came out in the 1970s?? []

  • by v1 (525388) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:23PM (#27998495) Homepage Journal

    Having something that operates a bit like a wii controller combined with a universal remote.

    Imagine pointing the wand at your receiver and giving an upward flitting motion and the receiver bumps up the volume. or flick to the right and it changes stations or goes to the next track. Twirl it in a circle clockwise to turn on or counterclockwise to turn off etc.

    And would only react to the device you point at. (might have to establish separate gestures for nearby components etc)

    I'd buy that.

  • the USPTO should (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:33PM (#27998641)
    turn this down, it is too generic, it should be impossible to patent an idea or concept, only actual products manufactured should be patentable...
  • OT: Paid by word? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:37PM (#27998721)

    Somewhat off-topic, but the wording in patent applications always amuses me. For instance, the abstract says:

    The architecture can utilize one or more sensor from a collection of sensors to determine an orientation or gesture in connection with the wand, and can further issue an instruction to update a state of an environmental component based upon the orientation.

    They say "one or more sensor from a collection of sensors", which is redundant. They could just say "sensors". And why say "can further issue an instruction to update a state of an environmental component" when it is simpler to just say "can update another component"?

    The architecture can utilize sensors to determine orientation or gesture of the wand, and can update another component based upon the orientation.

    I understand the need for precision. And I guess if they don't claim "one or more sensors" then someone can try to circumvent the patent by doing the same thing with only one single sensor (or whatever). But it still sounds ridiculous, and is no excuse for making confusing sentences. So many sentences are needlessly complicated or outright superfluous. Is there really no better way to word patents?

    Can anyone comment? Is that kind of wording truly necessary for the patent to be robust, or is the wording intentionally obtuse and confusing, so that they can later use the ambiguity to argue for broader applicability?

  • Re:Clippy, again? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:06PM (#27999191)

    Seriously, we have to stop this before someone gets harmed.

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:38PM (#27999773) Homepage

    It's already in the shape of a wand. And it can do everything described with simple software updates. Do you get a patent just for using someone else's design now? And that's not considering how innovative the Wii controller is itself.

  • by Reed Solomon (897367) on Monday May 18, 2009 @02:52PM (#28001099) Homepage

    Even the director's wand at an orchestra is a form of remote. But not very advanced in itself.

    Ah, Music, A magic beyond all we do here at Hogwarts!

    Seriously though, I've long considered the idea of a so called "magic wand" as being the penultimate input device for a holographic mobile computer. second only to simple gestures in air.

    although in the meantime I'd be happy with embedded high definition video screens in normal looking glasses attached to the cell phone in my pocket perhaps with 3G/wifi.