The Future Will See You Now

Microsoft Might Have Finally Figured Out a Way to Reward Your TV Watching Habits


Your dream might finally come true: Microsoft is possibly developing an achievement program through its Kinect device to reward viewers who sit through hours of watching television. The Verge has dug up a patent application filed in 2011 by the company looking to, dare we say, disrupt your couch potato time.

Microsoft suggests that the traditional television viewing model should be upended to create more engagement by adding rewards and prizes. By increasing engagement, its plan could be fruitful for advertisers looking to grab eyeballs in the increasingly difficult arena. Read More

Patently Absurd

Microsoft Wants to Build a Creepy ‘Consumer Detector’ That Charges for Content Based on How Many People Are in a Room

I'm watching you... (Photo: Game Informer)

The Kinect add-on for Microsoft’s Xbox, which allows users to play fully-immersive games as the Kinect tracks your movements and translates them to the screen, is a fun alternative to typical couch potato gaming. But did you know it can also help corporations spy on you? America!

Back in 2011, Microsoft applied for a patent that would allow cameras and sensors, much like the ones embedded in the Kinect, to track how many people are in a room. Developed by Microsoft’s “incubation team,” which is where they test new approaches to hardware, the patent was recently made public. They’re calling the invention a “consumer detector” and it’s just as frightening as it sounds. Read More

Patently Insane

Microsoft Has Patented What’s Basically a Holodeck

Let's get freaky. (Photo: Rikomatic)

Sometimes when you can’t make the trip to Risa, you might feel the need to recreate the pleasure planet in a fully-immersive alternate reality. Who wouldn’t? Ars Technica reports that Microsoft filed a patent last year for a “Holodeck-style, full room immersive display.” Score one for the Star Trek nerds.

The patent, of course, goes hand-in-hand with the Xbox 360’s Kinect add-on, which allows for virtual reality-like game play where users can interact with elements on the TV by moving around in their own physical environment. Microsoft’s patent would allow users to do this, but in a literal 360-degree field, meaning that even the walls, floor and ceiling would become part of the game. Read More


Booting Up: Plz Water Your Sad, Neglected Fern Edition


Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, soon your near-dead plants will be able to text you when they desperately need water. [Wall Street Journal]

American Airlines’ pilots can now use iPads throughout the flight. You, a mere wretched passenger, are not so lucky. [The Next Web]

After a stroke left his mother unable to use a keyboard, this dude hacked a Kinect to help her access email, because he is a better son than you. [CNET]

Good news! Some of those pretty women friending you on Facebook might not be spammers. Bad news: They might work for the Taliban. [Wired]