Microsoft's been scooping up patents lately, but my personal favorite is the one that allows you to beat the hell out of your phone to make it shut up. Because that's exactly what its newest idea is.
Microsoft has filed a patent application hinting to their plans for the future of gaming. It uses a sensor like the Xbox Kinect combined with a projection system that projects gameplay beyond your television to the surrounding room.
War is a messy business at the best of times, but it could get even more foul if a Russian inventor's personal human waste extracting tank gets built.
It's cheaper and more efficient for an airline to use one single large aircraft instead of several smaller aircraft, which was the initial motivation behind Boeing's venerable 747. Airbus cranked things up a notch with its truly gigantic double-decker A380, and a patent filed by Boeing last month suggests that a future generation of the 747 may follow suit.
Though Amazon is reportedly stashing up patents to create its own version of a smartphone, one thing it won't be able to patent is the water damage indicator. That one goes to Apple, which has add that patent to its array before the iPhone was released.
Everybody's favorite online retailer is starting to grow up. With the successful Kindle e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet under its belt, it's believed that Amazon is already working on its next homegrown project: a smartphone.
Clearly, someone over at the Airbus design department has been working just a little bit too hard coming up with patentable ideas. What you're looking at here is patent 8,157,204 (filed back in 2008, just approved) for a double fuselage, double swept-forward wing, double turboprop passenger aircraft. It's totally crazy, but actually pretty smart.
This May, the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center opened up "The Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology that Changed the World." The traveling exhibit, which features the many, many patents of Steve Jobs, was designed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum and is fairly breathtaking for being 312 pieces of paper. Consisting of 30 display panels that are each four feet wide, eight tall and shaped like the face of an iPhone, the exhibit displays facsimiles of 312 of the 317 different patents that Steve Jobs acquired. It also has a case with an a 1984 Apple Macintosh Computer; a 1992 NeXT monitor, sound box, microcomputer, keyboard and mouse; and a 2003 Apple iPod, which was the first to feature a discrete touch-sensitive click wheel as opposed to one with distinct mechanical buttons. We chatted with Richard Maulsby, Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, who told us: "I think what we endeavored to do with the exhibit is capture not just the quality but the breadth of this man's innovation genius."
When I was a child, Disney released a made-for-TV movie called Smart House, in which the house "knew" who its residents were and worked as an alarm system and helping hand: opening doors, offering food and even helping clean up after those rapscallions threw an unauthorized party. That system isn't impossible.
A recently discovered patent put in by Microsoft back in November is for "Control-based Content Pricing," which is a fancy way of saying that it'd track and monetize (read: penalize) the actions a viewer takes with a TV remote. DVR a show and want to skip the ads? Well, pay up, buster.