updated 03:40 pm EDT, Mon May 18, 2009
Microsoft wand patent
A recently-surfaced patent application outlines technology Microsoft describes as a 'magic wand.' The concept could integrates a variety of sensors, such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, range-finders and biometric sensors. Possible input/output components include a keyboard, keypad, buttons, touchpad, display, or speaker, among others. The claims also outline a system for providing instruction based on the wand orientation or other factors.
Along with the control functions, the wand filing describes a component that links with an avatar presented through audio or even holographic output. The biometric sensors can identify the user and present the appropriate avatar on the display.
A modeling function, using a number of cameras, potentially could be used to build a 3D geometric model of the surrounding environment "dynamically constructed on the fly." Multiple could use the devices to communicate in ways "similar to a cellphone or walkie-talkie."
"Even the most pragmatic individual 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," reads the filing.
The magic wand patent was initially filed in November of 2007. Many companies routinely file for patents on technology that may or may not continue development. It remains unknown if Microsoft plans to use the technology in upcoming entertainment or computing devices.