The human body runs on Windows.
June 23, 2004 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Microsoft granted patent for technology that will allow human skin to conduct power and transmit data. Let the jokes begin.(funny drawing here)
posted by anathema (25 comments total)
Prior art?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:17 PM on June 23, 2004

How did they invent this? I thought only demons and evil robots worked at Microsoft.
posted by ChasFile at 3:28 PM on June 23, 2004

Next Headline:

Microsoft Sues Everybody For Abuse of Static Electricity
posted by destro at 3:33 PM on June 23, 2004

i was thinking more of these lines.

posted by RubiX^3 at 3:36 PM on June 23, 2004

Next Headline:

Microsoft, in a bid to move into the hardware industry, creates the first microporcessor built entirely out of [insert ethnic minority]. "Cheaper than silicon," says MS engineer.

posted by ChasFile at 3:39 PM on June 23, 2004

What a terrible fucking article. Lots of """""hilarious""""" non-conjecture, little to no information on what the patent actually patents. Great, glad this got linked.
posted by kavasa at 4:02 PM on June 23, 2004

The average user, no doubt.
posted by carter at 4:05 PM on June 23, 2004

Here you go, kavasa. First link is to the actual patent claims.
posted by anathema at 4:13 PM on June 23, 2004

What a terrible fucking article.

Very few non-specialized publications understand IP or even get the facts straight. For example.
posted by anathema at 4:16 PM on June 23, 2004

I remember hearing about this in the late '90s. The research was done by MIT Media Lab in conjuction with IBM and was refered to as a Personal Area Network. It was based on Thomas Zimmerman's 1995 research into Near-Field Intra-Body Communication.

One example of the technology was that two people could shake hands and pass an electronic business card to each others' PDA.

A quick Google search found this. Microsoft's patent application refers to the MIT/IBM research.
posted by Monk at 4:34 PM on June 23, 2004

Just the other day Bill Gates came to my door and said "Gimme some skin, man."

now it all makes sense....
posted by jonmc at 5:20 PM on June 23, 2004

A quick look into past issues of Popular Electronics will reveal a voltmeter design that worked using the human body as a conductor and displayed data based on that.

Another useless patent.
posted by shepd at 5:22 PM on June 23, 2004

...woah, thanks anathema. I should be whiny and petulant more often, it seems to get results.
posted by kavasa at 6:26 PM on June 23, 2004

Whatever you think about the patent, the technology looks pretty cool. Oh, and the patent is not that broad, as you have to transmit power, not just data, to infringe it.
posted by caddis at 6:45 PM on June 23, 2004

It's anathema's purview, more or less. I'm listening.

Somebody spent some $ on those patent rights.
posted by troutfishing at 8:21 PM on June 23, 2004

Actually, trout, I just do trademarks and copyrights. I can limp through patents, but it's not my field. I'm not even Patent Bar eligible.
posted by anathema at 4:11 AM on June 24, 2004

But, the only way it will go anywhere is if the PORN industry can take advantage of it. Trying to think of a rectum joke here....
posted by Eekacat at 5:06 AM on June 24, 2004

Wrecked 'em? Damn near killed him!

There you go.
posted by ssmith at 5:58 AM on June 24, 2004

This is really cool, despite it being Microsoft. A lot of sports electronics needs to communicate around your body, for instance to have a heart monitor display on your watch. In current products they have to use radio signals, which are death to battery time.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 AM on June 24, 2004

I'm disappointed that so far only 3 people have taken seriously the charge to write jokes about this. I came up with 2 in 11 minutes without even trying. Its now been hours. The Leno show is waiting; step up, people!
posted by ChasFile at 7:46 AM on June 24, 2004

Let's all say it together: "Method of Swing on a Swing...." This patent land-grab crap has got to be stopped. have to transmit power, not just data, to infringe it.

What do you think a galvanometer does? The power is the data.

Anyway, this was all done several years ago at MIT, and you know how careful they are about tracking IP. Somebody needs to get on the horn with the IP czar at the Media Lab. The stuff they were doing was exactly this: Transmitting both power and network traffic (TCP/IP, as I recall) from shoe to watch to eyeglasses etc....
posted by lodurr at 8:30 AM on June 24, 2004

You are not seriously averring that a galvanometer would anticipate this patent? It will not. For instance, in claim 1 a first device must send power (electrical signal) to a second device which must send data (initialization information including at least power requirement information) back to the first device. The galvanometer is but one device. As regards what MIT did, let's see the documentation. Did the MIT work include the transmission of power from a first device to a second device and the transmission back of data wherein that data includes the second device's power requirements? It is not like Microsoft has patented the wheel here. They have a patent which covers a fairly specific power and data exchange network employing a body of a living creature.
posted by caddis at 9:24 AM on June 24, 2004

Prior art does not per se preclude patentability. Not even close.
posted by anathema at 9:37 AM on June 24, 2004

awesome picture
posted by mr.marx at 9:54 AM on June 24, 2004

anathema is correct, prior art is just art which is prior in time (and there are some specific relevant times). Thus, all inventions have prior art. The issue is whether that art anticipates or makes obvious the claimed invention.

Although some prior art has been discussed with respect to this MS patent, no one has yet established that this or any other prior art anticipates or makes obvious the patent. I think the reason is that rather than being an overreaching patent which intrudes upon well worn territory, this is a fairly narrow and specific patent which probably is limited to new territory. I am unaware of any prior art where specific data relating to a device's power requirements was transmitted via the body.
posted by caddis at 9:59 AM on June 24, 2004

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