What you need to know

  • A new Microsoft patent shows a device that can detect which display a user is focusing on.
  • The dual-screened device in the patent has a hinge.
  • The patent may not indicate a future device.

A new patent from Microsoft was published today. The patent shows off a multi-screen device that can tell which of the device's multiple screens a user is focusing on. There's a chance that this could be part of an upcoming foldable device from Microsoft, but as with all patents, it might never be implemented into a device or see the light of day.

The patent's abstract states that the device would "detect a signature gesture input based on accelerometer data." The device would be able to tell which screen a user is focused on. The patent states that part of this feature is "reducing a power usage of a display device that does not have the current user focus." It could also switch which display shows content based on where the user is looking and suppress touch input on the display that's not in focus.

Foldable devices can struggle with screen orientation, so having a device that could orient itself well would be useful. Furthermore, reducing power usage would be an expected feature for many users who wouldn't want a device to burn battery to power a screen that no one is looking at.

Several other patents have emerged that could be part of a foldable device from Microsoft, including a design that ditches physical volume buttons. As with all patents, any designs included might not be used in a future device. They often show concepts that companies are interested in, but only some patents lead to devices that are sold to consumers.

Thanks to Steven for the tip.