Microsoft has been granted approval of three new patents for; "a sliding mechanism for mobile phones, something interesting for Kinect, and multi-touch mice to improve interaction with games."
Moveable Housing of a Mobile Communications Device
Per patent abstract:
"Mobile communications devices having moveable housings are described. In an implementation, a mobile communications device includes a first housing that includes a display device; and a second housing that includes a keyboard. At least one of the first or second housings are moveable between a first configuration in which the first housing substantially covers the second housing so the keyboard is covered and the display device is viewable and a second configuration in which the keyboard is exposed and positioned such that an outer plane of the keyboard is positioned in a substantially similar plane to that of an outer surface of the display device."
Physical Interaction Zone For Gesture-Based User Interfaces
Microsoft is looking to implement a special design for a sliding mechanism that positions the keyboard and screen in a similar plane. As far as the Kinect goes, Microsoft is looking to further explore the possibilities of gestures and tracking user movements.
The abstract describes:
"In a motion capture system having a depth camera, a physical interaction zone of a user is defined based on a size of the user and other factors. The zone is a volume in which the user performs hand gestures to provide inputs to an application. The shape and location of the zone can be customized for the user. The zone is anchored to the user so that the gestures can be performed from any location in the field of view. Also, the zone is kept between the user and the depth camera even as the user rotates his or her body so that the user is not facing the camera. A display provides feedback based on a mapping from a coordinate system of the zone to a coordinate system of the display. The user can move a cursor on the display or control an avatar."
Microsoft is also looking to create multi-touch mice that allow interaction with games. Sounds like a cool idea.
Multi-Touch Mouse In Gaming Applications
"Keyboards, mice, joysticks, customized gamepads, and other peripherals are continually being developed to enhance a user's experience when playing computer video games. Unfortunately, many of these devices provide users with limited input control because of the complexity of today's gaming applications. For example, many computer video games require a combination of mouse and keyboard to control even the simplest of in-game tasks (e.g., walking into a room and looking around may require several keyboard keystrokes and mouse movements). Accordingly, one or more systems and/or techniques for performing in-game tasks based upon user input within a multi-touch mouse are disclosed herein. User input comprising one or more user interactions detect by spatial sensors within the multi-touch mouse may be received. A wide variety of in-game tasks (e.g., character movements, character actions, character view, etc.) may be performed based upon the user interactions (e.g., a swipe gesture, a mouse position change, etc.)," reads the patent abstract.
You can read more about the patents: Moveable Housing of a Mobile Communications Device, Physical Interaction Zone For Gesture-Based User Interfaces, and Multi-Touch Mouse In Gaming Applications.