Microsoft patents wearable controller for gaming

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Microsoft has landed a new patent for a video game controller based on wearable electromyography (EMG) technology.

The concept, if implemented, would allow the user to control devices such as a smartphone, notebook, and Xbox 360 simply by wearing an armband device. Essentially, the sensors in the band pick up electrical signals that are generated by the muscles in the arm moving in a particular direction or style.

Microsoft patents wearable controller for gaming

Those electrical signals would then be sent to the device via a wireless or wired connection.

Unsurprisingly, Redmond apparently envisions its electromyography technology beyond just a mere armband.

To be sure, the patent proposes integrating the technology into a watch and even clothing. It seems that distinct implementation styles would suit different needs - with an armband being more appropriate for sensing the precise movements needed to control a video game.

According to EuroGamer, the new controller patent may have something to do with the a Microsoft code-named Loop. Apparently, Loop's early motion sensing technology - which predated Nintendo's Wii Motion Plus - wraps around the arm in a manner similar to that of the patent photos.

EuroGamer also notes that Loop technology may have ultimately been dropped the technology in favor of Kinect. A video surfaced several years ago, which you can see below, showing a gamer using the technology for a music title.

Of course, if you had to choose a technology for motion sensing control for gaming, Kinect is certainly the better option since it requires the user to wear no additional hardware. Personally, I suspect we will never see this sort of technology for console gaming since the Kinect has been so popular. However, I could envision Loop being integrated into a device like a watch for controlling a smartphone.