Microsoft patents "Touch-Aware Skin" - wants to make tablets aware of how you hold them

Microsoft wants to know where your hands are at all times, and has filed a patent to do so. A new patent filed by the Redmond based company depicts a device that is able to sense a person’s grip on the border of a tablet. The patent itself shows “Skin Sensors” embedded around the entire screen border and filed under what Microsoft is calling “Touch-Aware Skin”.

The patent itself, which was filed back in May of this year, provides an abstract description of what purpose it might serve:

"Grip-based device adaptations are described in which a touch-aware skin of a device is employed to adapt device behavior in various ways. The touch-aware skin may include a plurality of sensors from which a device may obtain input and decode the input to determine grip characteristics indicative of a user's grip. On-screen keyboards and other input elements may then be configured and located in a user interface according to a determined grip…"

Adding a touch aware border to the device would allow software to reconfigure itself based on how you are handling the device. In addition, we could predict the technology being used to help prevent accidental touch by detecting where a hand may be lying.

Patents are filed with the United States Patent Office all the time, and many of them are simply concept ideas and sketches. As we have learned with recent patent wars between Samsung and Apple – patents are becoming everything, and the more you have – the better protected you are.

If Microsoft was to add the technology to their current Surface tablets, we could imagine an endless number of possibilities for its use. Imagine using the tablet to check your mail via the Outlook Windows application and the buttons rearranging themselves to move closer to where your hands are placed. These Skin Sensors would allow a device that can see another bit more around itself and understand how you are utilizing the device.

What do you think about Microsoft’s “Touch-Aware Skin” patent?

Source: FPO; via WinBeta

22 Comments
  • Best think we can do I future devices specially with large display.
  • Dafuq did I just read?
  • What you mean?
  • Do you mean that you just reread it, and was still satisfied? Hehe... :)
  • LOL :P
  • Lol!
  • One of webOS best things was the gesture areas, not putting them on the touchpad was moronic, made it feel like an entirely different os. The combination of this and edge off recognition, pure awesomeness.
  • Couldn't the same thing be implemented through a simple OS update? Like if the OS senses my finger on the side while my other finger is scrolling, it won't do something.
  • Perhaps. But here Microsoft is essentially saying, 'can I patent this first?'.
  • Very nice
  • Also, maybe screen orientation based both on touch and the accelerometer. When I'm holding my phone in my hand in bed, I can use rotation lock, but this would solve that issue via how I'm holding the phone.
  • This.
  • I want Microsoft to use all these patents they made, and Nokia's patents, and probably in 2017, implemented all. I have faith in Microsoft, and this Touch-Aware Skin thing. Go Microsoft!
  • Microsoft doesn't own teh Nokia patents. Nokia retains all its patents. I believe the sale includes a right for Microsoft to license all those patents.
  • Innovation methinks
  • This sounds pretty impressive. This is probably similar in tech with the touch covers. This could possibly be used on smart phones too. I would love to see a configurable touch "back-plate" on phones and phablets for OS functions.
  • F@$king right doggy
  • They haven't really received a patent to "Touch-Aware Skin" they are still pending so this article is a little misleading for someone that wouldn't know how the patent system works. The application went public as of 11/14/2013 and that's because any application filed will go public after 18 month of the filing date (or sooner if requested by applicant) but it still hasn't been granted a patent per se...
  • Eh, Apple will release this techology first anyways and MS will stay in a shadow as ussual while Apple will shine in innovation fountain.
  • Nice, it could even cover the entire back side and offer more gestures.
  • Can't wait until all the data logging shows that two hands switches to one hand when visiting adult websites, haha
  • And then they can tell if you're right or left-handed! :-P