Microsoft granted new patent for the company's 3D Touch system

Microsoft has been granted a new patent for its 3D Touch system. The technology has made headlines before, with previous reports pointing to the company aiming to deploy 3D Touch on the now-cancelled McLaren smartphone. Microsoft is still rumored to be looking to launch this technology on other products, which can detect the angle at which the finger is hovering above a 3D Touch supported display.

Microsoft 3D Touch

The patent itself unfortunately offers little in terms of confirmation that Microsoft is indeed bringing said technology to Windows 10, having filed the patent back in 2014. The company is expected to unveil new Lumia flagship smartphones later this year, not to mention new hardware from partnered OEMs, so we could be in for a treat with some 3D Touch support.

Source: USPTO, via: WMPU

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

122 Comments
  • Bring it on!
  • Bring it off!
  • Just Bing it!
  • "Bing" it on!
  • That would be awesome!
  • McLaren is alive!
  • All hail McLaren!
  • He is....the Newcastle manager
  • I seriously hope that they have all their best stuff planned for these first couple of W10 flagships. I'm overdue for an upgrade right now and going to get one of the two, so I'd hate to find a 1020 successor with 3D touch released a few months later!
  • Likewise, alot of people are due upgrades predominantly the 920 users who have held out for so long.
  • How come nobody considered the 930 to be a 920 successor?
  • The 920 never had a successor on ATT here in America. Only option was the 1520. The only way you could get a 930 would be to switch to Verizon and get the Icon which took forever and a day to get the Denim update and never got double tap to wake.
  • a couple reasons, 1) it was only available on verizon in the states and 2) it lacked glance 
  • It's been taking them so long that I now have 4 upgrades available on my wireless account
  • I have a Lumia 925 on a contract which allows me to upgrade before christmas and hopefully I can also get one of these flagship models (contract price depending...).
  • Me in fabruary:) Still like my 925 though
  • Or we are digging up the bones?
  • Whatever this means??
  • Surprise us, just the way you did with hololens..
  • And Band (not so innovative, but without any rumors)
  • Come on, band was rumored long before unveiling. Hololens was a real surprise though.
  • Band is never rumoured
  • It most certainly was. This site reported on Microsoft getting patents for a wearable device and that it would be fitness related.
  • Yeah, I actually put off purchasing another smart watch because I had been looking into then around the time it got rumored.
  • 3D touch means what? Is it gonna bring some kind of holographic fingerprint touch or what?
  • It's kinda like the Galaxy S5's hover feature, just with better tech.
  • Ah I see, very nice, would like to see it soon, although I think it's gonna be pricey
  • It means goodbye to the nasty smudges!!
  • Use a stylus like a civilized person!
  • There was an MSR video posted on this site back in the fall of '14 showing how the sensor works.   I suggest digging back in the archives with search engine and watch it.
  • A vapor-Mag phone, with a speedy CPU, and camera button would be awesome.
  • Nice avatar!
  • This makes me more excited about the future of windows mobile.
  • Wow the future is now :)
  • ...Thanks to science!
  • Thanks to Microsoft Research! is. Hololens
  • Just like Samsung ad, Future is Now, or one of Teen Titans titles, lol
  • Maybe McLaren wasn't released because, at that time, this patent had not been granted. Now that it has been granted ...
  • ^^This! 3D Touch = Force touch obsolete? We shall see. This is getting rather interesting. I can see more applications for 3D Touch, though.
  • Personally, i think force touch is more functional than 3d touch. 3d touch detects input even if you arent touching the screen. Whereas Force touch only detects input when you put pressure on the screen. 3d touch looks like it would suffer from "accidental" swipes and input.
  • MS already have a force touch patent as well.. And it is said to be less power consuming than Apple's force touch .. I did tip WC about it.. But they didn't posted it.. It was also from USPTO.. May be MS will mix those two features and make it better and useful
  • You have a link to a different place? Forum post or anything? Or at least the name of their tech? I'm interested.
  • Stop trying to talk sense... around these parts, if it's new it's IN! But honestly, I can actually see some uses for 3D touch so hopefully it will be a feature that can be turned on/off as the user desires. One button on the ActionCenter like how Airplane Mode and Rotation Lock work would be perfect. I can see 3D touch being useful for turning pages of documents and for painting apps, but not sure what else.
  • That's the point. Maybe they can get the virtual TrackPoint off the mobile keyboard now. hover to move cursor.
  • A product would never wait to ship for a patent to issue. Full protection is available from the date of filing (used to be date of conception in the US, but with the Patent Cooperation Treaty, to standardize with the rest of the world, US moved to a filing basis), assuming it eventually issues. And if it doesn't, then there's no protection, but waiting wouldn't have helped either. Unfortunately, this means that MS may have decided to shelve the technology after filing for the patent and may never do anything more with it ever again. Hopefully not -- I think it's a great idea, but without seeing a product or hearing some leaks that this is still in development, there's no evidence that it is.
  • Patent application is enough.
  • It needed better hardware to work smoothly.. May be that's why they cancelled McLaren.. But the greatest new is that Lumia 940/XL hardware can support this feature..
  • Hopefully it won't destroy my Battery life
  • MSR video says it doesn't add that much draw.
  • I am ready to use it for convenience payment method in every brick store as well as online store (if possible)
  • Err... Nothing to do with payments.
  • Any info if 940 gonna have 3D touch ????
  • Yes, it will!!!!
  • And how do you know that?
  • Time traveler
  • LOL I love windows central
  • No it won't!!!!!!!!!! Used more exclamation marks to prove my point.
  • I hope!! No, it should have. Because, why not? Its a flagship after all. Especially its been a while we haven't any worthwhile Lumia flagship for a long time.
  • This! I'm hoping Microsoft throws everything it has into the next couple of flagships instead of releasing what was planned from a year ago and then later releasing true new flagships.
  • Actually you can do it with the Hello cameras
  • Woops ! .....
    Mom I broke my Android Phone......
    Can I get new one Plz.
    (evil lagh) ^_+ ^o^
  • All you need to do is sit on it or just drop it without any case.   Just keep it out of a case and you can break it without meaning to :-P
  • Or just uplaod a video of #bend experiment !
  • what exactly is 3d touch? From what i can see based on the patent, it looks as though the screen can detect touch based on distance.   NVM just watched some videos and that is exactly what it is. I think the reason they probably canceled McLaren was because 3d touch looks like would suffer from accidental "touches". The sensors detect your hand when you arent even touching the phone, imagine the UI navigation nightmare that would be without the proper coding in place to recognize what is "intentional touching" and what is "accidental touching".
  • So, what would be the benefit of using 3D Touch?  Not making your phone's screen greasy if you have dirty fingers? I can't think of anything else.
  • A really good theremin app.
  • Brilliant... Recreating the Star Trek theme on my phone would be epic.
  • That in itself would be a sell for many technicians, mechanics, hospitals.
  • I can imagine, it will add a similar function to what a hovering mouse arrow has... Which adds some pretty cool possibilities ;)
  • I think it is Kinect type of gesture negation on mobile phones instead of a surface hub or normal PC
  • Cursor navigation.
  • I get plenty of accidental touches with today's capacitive touch screens and buttons. Perhaps they will find a way to make 3D touch more reliable. My preference would be to bring back resistive touch screens, but I've given up hope on that.
  • Lol resistive touch screens
  • http://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-shows-how-3d-sensing-will-work-s...
  • It seems Windows 10 kicks ass, looking forward to the flagship in near future. The very important for me is the battery life hours. ​
  • Anything Microsoft does ahead of the computation is a plus
  • lol computation
  • Sometimes normal people can't swallow the futuristic tech and thus fails.... Like when Gates showed the tab PC
  • Lol.
  • Interesting
  • Wasn't this one of these old-nokia nonsense features that Microsoft would not consider and that's why McLaren was cancelled. I think I read something like that somewhere.
  • Not that it would not consider, it was said that the technology was not as improved and workable as it should be, just yet.
  • In other words Microsoft wants to get it right. And not just another gimmicky feature like Samsung has been doing.
  • As long as there are people willing to pay for crappy half-baked Samsung features one could argue that from a business perspective Samsung is getting it "right."
  • Yeah they are getting the paying consumers to fund their R&D.
  • What does it means 3D touch?
  • Touching the screen by hovering your finger across the screen in the air
  • When I change touch sensitivity to high.. I can actually scroll without touching the display..( but eats my battery )
  • Happens with me alot, you can of course tap as well. Hehe Lumia 930 already has 2D touch :P
  • Lol I thought I was delusional when It happened to me :D
  • Don't keep us in suspense, Microsoft!
  • Is it same concept as XPERIA SOLA?
  • How can they get patent if Xperia already has it.. Come on.. :D
  • Yeah u were right.
  • My 1520 and its phantom touch issue does similar things....jk
  • Sick!
  • Go see the doctor then!
  • LOL!
  • Microsoft is going to take them by storm. They should license the Patten to other window phone partners so they can leverage it. But only for Windows products. That'd get more OEMs to the Windows phone bandwagon
  • This is why MS brought on the hamburger menu. Think of the possibilities interacting with the upper sesame seed bun layer, the lettuce layer, the pickles layer, the special sauce layer, etc.
  • Yes, the patent drawing makes it look like you are on to something there. Imagine a "vertically-deep" volume slider extending our from the screen, push button 3 levels "deep", etc. The finger angle thing first showed up on their "Surface Horizontal Display Units" that looked like old arcade table units and could be found at various Microsoft offices (saw my first one at Microsoft, Austin). It was the precursor to the Surface Pro tablets and the now Surface Displays for Biz. You would place your hand on the "surface" and it would not only register the touch and touch pressure from each finger, but also the angle that each finger was at with respect to the horizontal screen. Then they had apps that took advantage of that by identifying a set of 3D objects placed on the screen. Have to think that was showing off the potential of "3D Screens" at that point. This was months before the Surface Pro came out and no Microsoft staff would comment on it. ;)
  • Yes yes yes!!!
  • Awesome news. Let's see some new phones we can buy!
  • Highly unlikely 940/XL would include any of it. Would be nice if they would include some other simpler,useful gestures.
  • You can have it with the Hello cameras.
  • Awesome bring it in Lumia 940 & 940 XL
  • They should just pull the trigger and see what happens if we like it, we like it. If we don't, we don't. But I think MS needs to be bold like Samsung and try new things and see if they stick.
  • Would be better for Games....
  • Correct me if I'm wrong. My 620 can do the hover thing to lock/unlock I forgot when. Is this function still there? Cause I replace with 540..
  • I hope Microsoft relizes the potential of this if they also use 3D eye tracking.... like the amazon fire phone.... You could actually rotate objects that have the illusion of being holographically protruding from the screen without touching the screen... for example, you could flick a bowling ball that looks like its resting out of the screen for a game
  • I'm not sure if it is useful, but it would be pretty cool and MS needs that!
  • It would be nice for upcoming Lumia flagship to have this. Flagships are meant to be the coolest, greatest and the craziest! Having this will make people and journalist to take notice and interest on Lumia again. Windows Hello + Continuum + Sexy Hardware + 3D Touch = Wallet Magnet!
  • Well this is interesting. If they'd come out with this finger-wavy-over-the-screen-thing it'd be quite a draw for new buyers. And I'm assuming this is going to be seen just on the high ends initially before trickling down
  • 3D touch me
  • This would really give another differentiating factor from other phone OSs, which is exactly what windows 10 needs at this point to draw more users.
  • This is NOT a patent granted to Microsoft for the 3D touch technology. This is a PUBLICATION meaning it is still in the process of getting granted a PATENT. Patents are published on Tuesdays while Publications are published on Thursdays. PLEASE corrent your story because I like you guys and don't want you guys reporting the wrong information.
  • The end to oily screen hell.
  • Awesome!
  • Hmm
  • Didn't apple already patent this? Oh wait, they will next week and take MS to court. Ha ha.
  • I have bought the 640XL recently. I can wait for more than a year for my next phone. I hope this technology is there on next years' flagship. I am already getting excited not just about 940/XL but also the path MS has chosen for future.
  • I feel like the Lumias already do it secretly. My L1020 at times will scroll with my thumb above the screen and not touching