The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently awarded Microsoft Corp. its 10,000th U.S. patent. The invention, U.S. Patent No. 7,479,950, applies to surface computing technology and outlines how users can place real objects — anything from cell phones to their own fingers — on the computer’s tablelike display and the computer will automatically identify the objects and track their position, orientation and motion. This allows the objects to be associated with data or media, like a specific collection of music or photos.
Curtis Wong, one of four co-inventors of the patent from Microsoft Research, explains that there are myriad uses for the patented technology in conjunction with Microsoft Surface computers or other touch-screen applications. For example, a group of photos from a particular vacation could be associated with a souvenir from the trip. Placing the souvenir on a Microsoft Surface computer might initiate a slide show.
Recall also Microsoft's published application 20070300174 (MONITORING GROUP ACTIVITIES ) the first claim of which is
An activity monitoring system that facilitates managing and optimizing user activity automatically to improve overall user productivity and efficiency comprising:a monitoring component that can monitor user activity conducted on one or more computing devices; andan activity management component which can process and evaluate user activity data to assess user performance on their respective activities and the current allocation of system and human resources.