Microsoft is seeking patents on a method of controlling computers using Electromyography, or EMG — a system that translates electrical activity from muscles into instructions for the computer. One of the filings suggests doing this by attaching sensors to a user’s forearm, but another goes further by proposing a completely wearable system of sensors on head, chest, arm and leg. Here’s how a filing describes the concept: “Human-computer interactions have been primarily detected using direct manipulation of devices such as mice, keyboards, pens, dials, and touch-sensitive surfaces. As computing and digital information becomes integrated into everyday environments, situations arise where it may be inconvenient or difficult to use hands to directly manipulate an input device. Furthermore, direct physical manipulation spreads microbes, so hands-free input mechanisms can helpful in areas sensitive to contamination, for example surgery rooms.”
Microsoft Research video shows the concepts discussed in the patent filing — including a demonstration of how to use muscle movement to play Guitar Hero, air-guitar style.