Games in Science and Technology

Microsoft Research Unveils Muscle-Computer Interfaces

Image from Microsoft Patent ApplicationMicrosoft is seeking patents on a method of controlling computer interfaces by Electromyography. The technology - abbreviated EMG - translates the electrical activity of human muscles into instructions for a computer or other electronic device.

One patent filing describes a system that would be attached to a user’s forearm and another filing proposes a full-body system including sensors that would be worn on the head, chest, arms and legs of an end user. A video originating from Microsoft Research suggests that the technology could not only be used to control computers and video games, but portable electronics like MP3 players as well. Read More…

Attempts have been made in the past to use muscle twitches to control video games, such as the Mindlink from Atari and an accessible adaptation of Marble Madness. Though the technology - or at least the idea behind it - is not brand-new, this latest iteration promises enough precision to play modern titles like Guitar Hero, as seen in the Microsoft Research video.

The project team is made up of employees of both Microsoft Research and Microsoft Corporation, as well researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Toronto.

If used in conjunction with a system like Microsoft’s own Natal, this new take on muscle-controlled gaming could bring about the most (or least) accessible generation of video games yet. The technology also holds promise outside of video games and appears as though it could be adapted to control prosthetic devices, wheelchairs or even a car.