REDMOND, Wash. – Feb. 10, 2009 – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently awarded Microsoft Corp. its 10,000th U.S. patent. The invention, U.S. Patent No. 7,479,950, applies to surface computing technology and outlines how users can place real objects — anything from cell phones to their own fingers — on the computer’s tablelike display and the computer will automatically identify the objects and track their position, orientation and motion. This allows the objects to be associated with data or media, like a specific collection of music or photos.
Curtis Wong, one of four co-inventors of the patent from Microsoft Research, explains that there are myriad uses for the patented technology in conjunction with Microsoft Surface computers or other touch-screen applications. For example, a group of photos from a particular vacation could be associated with a souvenir from the trip. Placing the souvenir on a Microsoft Surface computer might initiate a slide show. Rotating the souvenir accelerates or slows the playback speed. Placing it on another area of the screen would “spill” the photos onto the Surface display, allowing the user to edit, delete or add photos to that collection with simple gestures.