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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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  • No pictures.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Amorymeltzer (1213818)

      While there's no sign of a product using Microsoft's patented technology on the horizon...

      It's a patent announcement, not a product announcement. You've technically seen every picture of every product making use of it.

      • I know, but I was hoping for maybe a concept drawing or something =( I'm salivating over the very idea of this technology.

      • Re:Lemme guess.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday November 29, 2010 @10:55AM (#34374386) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

          by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slashdot@nospam.gmail.com> 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:4, Insightful)

            by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday November 29, 2010 @11:34AM (#34374744) 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.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Theaetetus (590071)

              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.

              • "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.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Theaetetus (590071)

                  "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 pate

                  • "Actually, the release of the author's rights is what "allows us to have excellent software accessible to all for free.""

                    You don't understand the GPL at all. It is control of the author's rights, protected by copyright, that allows the author to control how others use his work.

                    As to the rest of your post, just admit that you were foolish to suggest that the importance of copyright was about pop songs and move on. Anything less just makes it clear that you are afraid to admit your mistakes.

                    • "Actually, the release of the author's rights is what "allows us to have excellent software accessible to all for free.""

                      You don't understand the GPL at all. It is control of the author's rights, protected by copyright, that allows the author to control how others use his work.

                      No, I think you don't understand copyright. The GPL doesn't give you rights, it waives rights you already have in a very explicit manner - essentially a license. Hence the "L".

                      As to the rest of your post, just admit that you were foolish to suggest that the importance of copyright was about pop songs and move on. Anything less just makes it clear that you are afraid to admit your mistakes.

                      I concede that yes, pop songs are not the only thing protected by copyright. A reader debating in good faith, of course, would readily accept that and understand that the point was that the protections of copyrights and patents are different. You are a good faith debater, no?

                    • He wrote an entire post about the duration of patents and to contrast it with copyrights he took a random example - a pop song, and you nitpick over that? Whats wrong with you? He might as well have said: "They couldn't care less about your new movie/computer game/software/book". It was just an example to show that in patents there is industry pressure not to extend the duration of patents and in copyright there is no such pressure. He never said this was the most important thing protected under copyright l

                    • "No, I think you don't understand copyright. The GPL doesn't give you rights, it waives rights you already have in a very explicit manner - essentially a license. Hence the "L"."

                      A License does not waive rights, it grants rights that the Licensor must have over said product in the first place. You may be familiar with a company called Microsoft. Give their attorneys a call and explain to them how their EULA gives away their rights to their binaries. Then show up at the next lawsuit over a GPL violation an

                    • "He wrote an entire post about the duration of patents and to contrast it with copyrights he took a random example - a pop song, and you nitpick over that? Whats wrong with you? "

                      If you had paid attention to the rest of the thread, you would quickly realize that I indeed identified the fact that the poster lacks basic understanding of copyright, and specifically how it is extremely important to every high tech company on the planet. Therefore, his statement that companies don't care about copyright is, exc

                    • "No, I think you don't understand copyright. The GPL doesn't give you rights, it waives rights you already have in a very explicit manner - essentially a license. Hence the "L"."

                      A License does not waive rights, it grants rights that the Licensor must have over said product in the first place. You may be familiar with a company called Microsoft. Give their attorneys a call and explain to them how their EULA gives away their rights to their binaries.

                      I would, but they already know, and it would be insulting and condescending to try. You, apparently, have no such knowledge, so instead of Microsoft, I shall attempt to explain it to you. Copyright, like rights in all property, give the author a right to exclude others from using the subject of the copyright - specifically, to copy, distribute, prepare derivative works, etc.

                      A license doesn't grant another person a right to copy the work - those rights cannot be given, except as the subject of a total assig

                    • by spazdor (902907)

                      You don't understand the GPL at all. It is control of the author's rights, protected by copyright, that allows the author to control how others use his work.

                      No, I think you don't understand copyright. The GPL doesn't give you rights, it waives rights you already have in a very explicit manner - essentially a license. Hence the "L".

                      Read that sentence again. It doesn't claim that the GPL gives you rights. It claims that copyright does, and that the control given by copyright allows the author to dictate the terms upon which licensees may use the work. You aren't saying different things at all here.

                    • "Copyright, like rights in all property, give the author a right to exclude others from using the subject of the copyright - specifically, to copy, distribute, prepare derivative works, etc." ... "This has been "licensing intellectual property 101".

                      You failed miserably. Again, licensing the work for a specific use, does not invalidate the copyright. The author still holds the copyright, and can choose to make it available under an alternative license. In other words (taken from Wikipedia):

                      "Copyright is a

                    • by spazdor (902907)

                      If you grant a right to someone else that was previously yours exclusively, you are waiving your right to exclusivity.

                      God, why do these all become such semantic games?

                    • "Copyright, like rights in all property, give the author a right to exclude others from using the subject of the copyright - specifically, to copy, distribute, prepare derivative works, etc." ... "This has been "licensing intellectual property 101".

                      You failed miserably. Again, licensing the work for a specific use, does not invalidate the copyright.

                      Gosh, I said that?
                      Let's see... control-f, "invalid"...

                      I see.

                      Have you always had this hallucination problem?

                    • Yes, you said that:

                      "Actually, the release of the author's rights is what "allows us to have excellent software accessible to all for free." "

                      Again, they do not relinquish the rights. They simply grant the right to others as well, so long as they conform to the terms of the license. They still hold said rights and can grant the rights to others under a different license. No doubt this last post from you is just the first of many times that you will try to claim you did not say the ridiculous things you sa

                    • "If you grant a right to someone else that was previously yours exclusively, you are waiving your right to exclusivity. ... God, why do these all become such semantic games?"

                      Probably because semantics are important. For example, you just played a semantic game. Nobody said anything remotely close to what you said. The claim was made that the GPL works by removing rights from the copyright holder, when no such removal of rights occurs.

                    • by spazdor (902907)

                      If you grant a person a license to use your work, you formerly had a right to legal recourse if they used your work according to the terms dictated in the license, and now you don't.

                    • Did you even read what you wrote?
                    • by spazdor (902907)

                      (assuming you had such a right in the first place. Plenty of asshole EULAs give the user 'permission' to do things which they were already entitled to do.)

                    • by spazdor (902907)

                      Yes. Did you? Try it again and you'll see it.

                      You create. You can sue someone who uses it improperly, and win. That is a right.

                      You grant a license. The licensee uses your work. You used to be able to sue them for such a use. Now you can't. Your aforementioned right no longer exists.

                      See? Pretty straightforward.

                    • Yes, you said that:

                      "Actually, the release of the author's rights is what "allows us to have excellent software accessible to all for free." "

                      Huh. I don't see "invalid" in there either. Are you sure you're thinking of something I said and not... nothing?

                      Heh, no, in all honesty, I think I figured out what you're getting at: you don't understand what the word "release" means, and are interpreting it variously as "invalidating" or "relinquishing". I'm pretty sure that's your difficulty.

                      Unless, of course, you really do think I said "invalidating", in spite of that word never appearing prior to your post.

                    • "You grant a license. The licensee uses your work. You used to be able to sue them for such a use. Now you can't. Your aforementioned right no longer exists"

                      You always have the right to sue someone. You mistakenly claim that a right is lost. In fact, licensing does not relinquish your rights. You retain the copyright, and the rights that go with it. You confusion seems to stem from a complete misunderstanding of the term exclusive rights [wikipedia.org]. You are confusing it with a right to exclusivity. This is why s

                    • "Heh, no, in all honesty, I think I figured out what you're getting at: you don't understand what the word "release" means, and are interpreting it variously as "invalidating" or "relinquishing".

                      One of us doesn't understand what the word means [thefreedictionary.com] in a legal context. The author does not release his rights, except in specific accordance with the terms of the contract between the Licensor and the Licensee. You, perhaps mistakenly rather than in an attempt to corrupt, left that detail out. The Author continues

                    • by spazdor (902907)

                      and win

                    • "Heh, no, in all honesty, I think I figured out what you're getting at: you don't understand what the word "release" means, and are interpreting it variously as "invalidating" or "relinquishing".

                      One of us doesn't understand what the word means [thefreedictionary.com] in a legal context.

                      ... you do know that you linked to "relinquish", not "release"? And that what you linked to is just a list of similar and related concepts?

                      Or maybe you don't know that, and you actually believe that the legal definition of "relinquish" is "abandon, abdicate, abjure, cast off, cease, cede, deliver, demit, desert, disclaim, discontinue, dismiss, do without, drop, eliminate, forgo, forsake, give over, give up, give up claim to, go without, hand over, jettison, lay aside, leave, let go, part with, pull out, qu

            • by citizenr (871508)

              Patents already got Mickey mouse. Just look at Rambus, constantly extending original patent.

          • by PinkyDead (862370)

            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.

            And of course, it also make's it very expensive for large companies to come up with a slew of extremely embryonic ideas and patent them.

            Of course, it does help the small inventor by quickly showing him that any creative effort on his part is a complete waste of time, and he would be better off getting a job making the coffee in Microsoft.

          • >So they'll be public domain and can never be patented
            I am a newb when it comes to patents, does that mean that in 20 years the patent becomes public domain and is now able to be used at will by anyone without paying royalties for the technology, or
            that i can come up with something that does the same thing, but still have to do my own r&d, and possibly have diff. tech but achieving the same result.?

            • >So they'll be public domain and can never be patented I am a newb when it comes to patents, does that mean that in 20 years the patent becomes public domain and is now able to be used at will by anyone without paying royalties for the technology, or that i can come up with something that does the same thing, but still have to do my own r&d, and possibly have diff. tech but achieving the same result.?

              20 years from the date of filing (or earliest priority date), barring patent term extension due to delay by the USPTO's backlog, the tech in the patent becomes free and clear to anyone. No royalties, etc.

              • Is this only for technology or anything being patented in the US, or globally?

                • Is this only for technology or anything being patented in the US, or globally?

                  Warning: confusing answer

                  In most other countries, you get 17 years from the date of issue. In fact, that minimum is guaranteed by the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
                  In the US, you get 20 years from the date of filing... but issuance almost always takes at least three years. So it ends up being the same. And, in fact, if issuance is much later, the US gives you make-up time so that the patent term ends up being roughly 17 years from issuance.

                  • cool ...good to know, thank you for that info
                    now i know how long before i can invent my very own rubiks cube....lol

          • I think the point of people who ask "Where is the prototype?" is not so much that they want a physical object to actually exist, but that they want the patent to be specific enough that it applies to a particular real-world instantiation of the concept, and is not an attempt to patent the concept as a whole.

            Ideally, a patent is a sort of contract between the inventor and the public. The public (via the government/patent office) says "We will give you the incentive of a temporary monopoly if you publish a
            • Ideally, a patent is a sort of contract between the inventor and the public. The public (via the government/patent office) says "We will give you the incentive of a temporary monopoly if you publish all the details of your invention, so that everyone can benefit from it after the patent expires." The idea is to both encourage innovation and to release implementation details into the public domain (otherwise everything would be a trade secret and there would be lots of duplicated effort). But that contract is broken when the inventor only releases vague information, not providing the difficult implementation details.

              Yes, but at the same time, that information was never intended to be in the patent. Instead, because by filing a patent application, you are not penalized by public disclosure, we get a lot more white papers, specifications, RFCs, etc. than we would otherwise, had trade secrets been the only available protection.

              So I don't think the inventor needs to have a physical prototype in his garage. But the patent needs to be sufficiently detailed that someone (either the inventor or someone else) can go off and build a prototype. If it takes tons of additional R&D to go from the patent to something even vaguely useful, then I question whether that patent should have been awarded in the first place, since it didn't contain enough detail to fulfill its end of the contract.

              Sure. That's the way the law currently is - it's 35 USC 112, first paragraph, and states that the specification has to include sufficient written description to enable one skilled in the art to make

        • Patent of Dyson Sphere [espacenet.com] is already here.
  • The first application I see for this is a decent touch screen keyboard, if this shape-memory effect can be triggered fast enough. I'd feel much more comfortable typing on an tablet if there was some feedback to the typing.

    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday November 29, 2010 @10:44AM (#34374262)

      The first application I see is *finally* a decent braille screen for the blind. They can even dispense with the LCD screen altogether, to make the device affordable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by robot256 (1635039)
        I'd heard that with the advent of voice synthesizers and computers, Braille was going out of favor. But if this works, it could be a better experience than a computer yapping at you while you surf the web, and make smartphones usable in quiet places.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ByOhTek (1181381)

          Having helped people using screen readers - a linear form of output, like speech, does NOT do an adequate job of relaying a 3-dimensional output (x,y,color). A braille display, and one with textures for various gui elements... seems nice to me.

        • I'd heard that with the advent of voice synthesizers and computers, Braille was going out of favor.

          I am not saying you are wrong, but most people I know that read still prefer to read versus listening to audio books.

        • by Samah (729132)

          Not much good for an ATM though if you have someone waiting in line.

          "Please enter your PIN."
          *user types PIN...*
          "1...5...7...9"
          "You have $500,000 in your account."
          *user gets mugged*

          Not saying that it would be stupid enough to speak your PIN as you type it, but I wouldn't like random strangers knowing how much money I have in my account.

          • by robot256 (1635039)
            Thank you for an awesome example. What's even better is that with a Braille screen, even if the guy looks over your shoulder he won't see "$500" pop up. It would probably freak him out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arivanov (12034)

        Excellent idea if the pixels can be raised far enough and stay raised without whoever is touch-reading them getting skin cancer from the UV.

        I don't geddit...

        There are plenty of materials that will change their properties based on the basic electric field. This is the principle on which LCD's work. It should be possible to "stiffen" or "loosen" a display selectively without the UV bit just by adding a 4th "stiffness" pixel element similar to the 4th pixel element on Sharp displays. If that is too difficult,

        • UV is not harmful. Stop being silly.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It specifically says "A special frequency of UV" - I imagine you can't really go quicker or slower than that value by much. It's not so much as "Why UV" as "Why THAT Frequency in particular".

          What you are asking is like, Why 'Visible light'? But the Article specifically says 'yellow'.

          I imagine that might help you solve the mysteries of how this device works. But I'm personally. not interested enough to look any further.

        • by lalena (1221394)

          Why UV

          Probably because they can alter the LCD screen from R + G + B to a R + G + B + UV - just a 4th wavelength for the monitor to handle - kind of like Sharp's RGBY TVs. Then the visible + UV light emitted by the backlight through the LCD panel is what changes the surface of the monitor. You don't need to run wires to every pixel in the monitor - wires that would be on top of the touchscreen and on top of the LCD panel.

          Hiding the wires to control the shape isn't an unsolvable problem. Touchscreen monitors hav

      • The first application I see is *finally* a decent braille screen for the blind. They can even dispense with the LCD screen altogether, to make the device affordable.

        And since we all know that porn drives things, I can imagine what the first use will be [wordpress.com].

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The first application I see is *finally* a decent braille screen for the blind.

        I hate to be a killjoy, but that'll almost certainly be a later application. The first will likely be improved tactile feedback for existing touchscreen devices for the sighted. Why? That's where the money is.

        According to Wikipedia, there were 1.3 million legally blind Americans in 1994-1995. In contrast, Apple sold 3 million iPads in their first 80 days, with most of time occurring before the international launch.

        This technology will be a boon to the visually impaired, but it's the general market appea

      • by angiasaa (758006)

        The problem with Braille screens (which have been around a while now btw.), is that visual users have trouble reading through smudgy fingerprints.

        I remember reading about the issue of braille screens being problematic for people with who prefer to use optical screens about three or four years ago. Eventually, they discarded the idea of doubling Optical with Braille and kept it simple. Just Braille.

  • Alternate use (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday November 29, 2010 @10:42AM (#34374242)

    Sit on the display in a night club: the ambient black light projectors will turn it into a vibrating cushion.

    • Too bad that the sun doesn't shine its ultraviolet light into certain (... the most interesting...) places...
  • Let's hope this actually becomes a viable product.

    The obvious market I see is a display that is actually usable for the blind. A picture's worth a thousand words, and probably more than a thousand broken and disorganized automatically-read words.

  • No, seriously though, I've got one already. [youtube.com]

  • Proposing new tag: Imaginepornonthisthing
  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage.praecantator@com> on Monday November 29, 2010 @11:16AM (#34374580) Homepage

    So wait, a major tech company filed a patent application for a new display technology that's genuinely novel and innovative?

    They still do that?

    • by sam0737 (648914)

      I am surprised too!
      and that's fantastic.

      What I hate most with the pure touch screen phone is that it's lack of tactile feedback, say the bumps on the "5" key. Imagine if the button, virtual keyboard all could have texture, it would be much easier to use, touch typing on iPad would be possible.

  • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bagels (676159)
      Today's XKCD strip [xkcd.com] seems appropriate here. Granted, there's no guarantee that Microsoft actually plans on implementing this ever...
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        I have proof of my design predating this MS design that I linked to.

        I didn't say I wanted a cut, but I am claiming I thought of it before MS published. However, if MS doesn't actually build one, MS deserves as much credit as I do, or less since I thought of it first (AFAICT). MS certainly doesn't deserve a patent any more than I do if it doesn't actually build one. Then they deserve a patent only on the specific implementation.

        • by AC-x (735297)

          MS certainly doesn't deserve a patent any more than I do

          Actually if you read the patent [uspto.gov] Microsoft has come up with the "specific implementation" for a (hopefully) working system, where all you have said is "I want an electrically activated memory plastic display".

          This is what patents are supposed to be, complete theoretically working designs. You can't (or at least you're not supposed to be able to) just patent the idea of a "shape shifting display" you have to come up with how to make one, and anyone coming up with a different method of creating one gets their

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            I said a good deal more than just "an electrically activated memory plastic display", but not enough to patent anything. But neither is coming up with "how to make one" enough to (legitimately) patent; actually making one is necessary - or should be. Without an actual implementation, a design-only claim is closer to my brief description than to an invention that should be protected with an exclusive monopoly.

            I read the patent. Microsoft has come up with a (relatively, to my design) specific design, that is

            • by AC-x (735297)

              Without an actual implementation, a design-only claim is closer to my brief description than to an invention that should be protected with an exclusive monopoly.

              As pointed out by other people requiring a working prototype would prevent small time inventors from ever being able to patent anything complex as they would never be able to afford the cost of building a full working model.

              At any rate how do you know Microsoft didn't build a working prototypes to test different materials and techniques out?

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Claims have to be substantiated. Did you document it anywhere public? If so, then you have prior art.

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            I have proof of my design predating this MS design that I linked to.

            As I said, I linked to it, in the GP comment [slashdot.org].

            But that's not enough "prior art" to prevent a legitimate patent (eg. one claiming only an actual working model), any more than this MS patent should be enough to do so. More or less talk about an invention are roughly the same, until there's an actual working invention. Then everything changes, and an actual invention is legitimately protectable.

            • Your point is asinine. This patent protects the specific implementation Microsoft describes. If it doesn't work, the patent affords them no protection. If it does, I doubt it's random chance that they happen to describe a working implementation (with details about how it will work) in their patent.

              "Why, somebody oughta..." is something a stoned guy eating a bag of Cheetos mentions to his buddy. A patent application with implementation details is not the same thing.

              • by Doc Ruby (173196)

                You're a fool. This patent, like all Microsoft patents (and other patents owned by rich, powerful corporations) will prevent others from making something similar to what it claims, even if the difference is that the "infringing" invention actually works.

                If they do have a working model, they're withholding it because they want the patent to protect a broader claim than could be supported by the ultimate specific: a working model.

                "Your point is asinine" is what an asshole says who's afraid to just make an obv

                • by mcgrew (92797) *

                  This patent, like all Microsoft patents (and other patents owned by rich, powerful corporations) will prevent others from making something similar to what it claims

                  I'm not so sure about that. A friend who worked in a factory told me that his boss would often bring him some gizmo another company made and say "can we make one of these?" He said the people running the company didn't give a rat's ass about patents; "that's why we hire lawyers". He said often a small difference, like using brass instead of aluma

        • I'd like credit for inventing the MMORPG, the ISP, multi-function devices that change their interface based on which function is being used, and YouTube.

          When I was 6 years old (well over 30 years ago) I said to a friend, while I was playing Adventure on an Apple ][ with a 120 Baud acoustic modem: "Wouldn't it be cool if other adventurers were in here too, so you could have lots of people who would solve puzzles with you?" I even actually tried to make a BBS door game that would let multiple users do exactly

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            And maybe by the 2010 you could see the difference between "thinking it up" and "inventing it". You could see the difference between saying "I want this to do X for me" and "I want this to use Y technology to do X for me". The difference between the design in Microsoft's patent and an actual implementation.

            • Except you didn't come up with an implementation. You extended your idea slightly, but an actual implementation is not in evidence. My point in my post is that *everyone* has ideas, but not everyone makes them happen. It's the making it happen part that's the trick, not the having the idea in the first place.

              So, again, congratulations on having an idea, exactly like most every other person on the planet. And discongratulations on failing to do *anything* about it other than spitball a little, also exactly l

    • Not to shit on your parade, but I'm pretty sure everyone who's used a console emulator on a touch-interface device (like the iphone) has probably thought of this idea. Being able to actually feel the controller buttons on the screen would be a helluva lot better than having to look every few seconds to make sure your thumbs are in the right place.
  • Interesting but patentable?
    Google for

    haptic shape memory

    haptic display

    and you will see it is not a sudden invention out of nowhere. The pixels used to be electromagnetically activated metal pillars whereas they are using shape memory alloy. Perhaps the part about how they are using the alloy mechanically is new?

    NHK and Tokyo U. in 2008 develop touch panel/braille display [electronista.com]

    Harvard research [harvard.edu]

    It talks about shape memory alloy in pixel sized units.. So did Microsoft get this idea from the Russian and 4 Japanese bel [mit.edu]

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      Any different approach would be patentable. Perhaps they've solved the "fragile and not very responsive" problem. Perhaps they've designed a system that works at higher resolutions.

      No patent is 100% original, nor should such a qualification be necessary. As Isaac Newton supposedly said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

  • The porn implications are endless!
  • When I read the title of the post I figured they couldn't be talking about lighted pixels of even a flexible display since flexible displays are still just prototypes and they can only roll and bend, not stretch. Flexible to the point of pixel to pixel distances changing enough to be visible means the pixel connections must be stretching and that's probably 1+ decades away. I figured they must be talking about a flexible/rubber-like surface with actuators under it to give it a relief and then lighted by a p
    • looks like they are probably talking about some PH sensitive polymer where UV light is used to change the PH levels via ionization.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PH-sensitive_polymers

      not really new but I can imagine anyone working in and round this field would have used or considered using a projected display to cause reaction patterns on the material. Using a projected keyboard having two projectors(1 visiable light, one UV light) projecting on a flat material such as made from the above mentioned polymers m
  • People have been trying to create displays with tactile feedback for a while; Microsoft and other companies are simply patenting all the combinations of possible technologies for making that happen.

    The USPTO should really require a working model...

  • This isn't labeled porn yet? They'd obviously jump on it before anyone else.

    Technology like this has the most immediate useful impact on Windows Tablet devices that are just the touchscreen and essentially no other UI. You could make a raised keyboard with the screen, which would really be best of both worlds.

    The next step is a revolution in UI design. An alpha layer representing the texture of every UI feature could be part of every image displayed, and you could have an infinite number of interfaces that

  • Isn't it amazing the number of computer innovations that have been created for the porn industry?

  • For those of you who are imagination impaired, one cool use of this would be to provide a "real" gamepad via a touchscreen interface. Think being able to play oldschool NES games on an iphone where you could actually feel the buttons instead of always having to look and ensure your thumbs are in the right place.
  • ... that somebody already filed a patent remarkably similar to this. Maybe this is just a different means to the same end. Unfortunately I can't seem to find the link to the story for the other patent. Anybody else got that buried somewhere deep in the bookmarks?
  • Does this mean HatfulOfHollow [bash.org] is working at Microsoft then?
  • Zune hardware: failed, killed.
    Kin hardware: failed, killed.
    Shape-shifting display hardware: pending.

    I'm just sayin'.
  • for pimply editing goodness

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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