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Displays Input Devices Microsoft Patents Hardware

Microsoft Patents Shape-Shifting Display 112

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-the-odo-kind dept.
Stoobalou writes "In layman's terms, Microsoft's patent is for a special type of touch-screen display which includes a 'shape-memory' layer at its base. When activated by a special frequency of ultraviolet light, individual blocks — not-coincidentally the same size as a pixel on the display part — can be raised or lowered, lending the displayed image physical texture."
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Microsoft Patents Shape-Shifting Display

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  • Re:Lemme guess.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Monday November 29, 2010 @11:28AM (#34374682) Homepage Journal

    Didn't patents used to require at least a prototype?

    I bet someone has already patented terra-forming and dyson spheres.

    Not for the past hundred years or so. People realized that requiring prototypes made it impossible for small companies or individual inventors to get patents, particularly where the prototype alone might cost a million dollars to make. They also realized that if the description and figures were good enough, that one of ordinary skill in the art wouldn't need a physical prototype to envision the invention. And finally, they realized that a "prototype" of a small molecule or a genetically modified bacterium was kinda pointless, since no one was going to pick it up to look at anyway.

    Furthermore, so what if someone patents terra-forming and Dyson spheres? Are they going to be built within the next 20 years? No? So they'll be public domain and can never be patented, without further improvements on the earlier patent. And you're complaining that this is a bad thing?

  • Re:Lemme guess.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Monday November 29, 2010 @11:39AM (#34374784) Homepage Journal

    Copyrights used to have a fixed length too. If patents ever get their own Mickey Mouse, then it's going to be 25 years, then 50, etc.

    Prove it. Patents have never been extended in the 220 years since the first Patent Act (other than the 3 year difference between filing date and issue date to comply with an international treaty). Unlike copyright, there is tremendous industry pressure against extending patents. Other companies want to use your new super-efficient power source... They couldn't care less about your new pop song.

  • I Thought This Up (Score:4, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday November 29, 2010 @11:46AM (#34374842) Homepage Journal

    I've been posting on Slashdot for years [google.com], and elsewhere before that, about layering a memory plastic grid on a touchscreen to raise bumps defining a dynamic textures and bounded areas for touch feedback.

  • Re:Ahem. Pop Song? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Monday November 29, 2010 @01:12PM (#34375876) Homepage Journal

    "Other companies want to use your new super-efficient power source... They couldn't care less about your new pop song."

    Your assumption that the most useful thing that may be copyrighted is a pop song is ridiculous. Other companies want to use source code, which is copyrighted not patented. Indeed, it is the GPL [gnu.org], which is a form of copyright known as copyleft, that allows us to have excellent software accessible to all for free.

    Actually, the release of the author's rights is what "allows us to have excellent software accessible to all for free." If copyleft did not exist, free software still could - see, e.g. any free software prior to 2007, v1 of the GPL.

    That said, copyright protects only that specific embodiment of the work. Other companies may want to use the source code to save time and expense of independent recreation, but if they do perform that independent recreation, they do not infringe copyright at all. That's why patent rights are stronger - they protect even against independent recreation.

    This still doesn't help the primary argument, which was that "zomg patent rights are going to be extended for hundreds of years," to which I say, FUD is not evidence. Provide some evidence to counter the evidence to the contrary over the past 220 years, or accept that your fears are unfounded.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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