Microsoft Patents Xbox/Kinect Metro UI, In-Vehicle Computer System And More


1) Design Patent: The new Xbox/Kinect dashboard design is now  patented. Its also look similar to Windows 8 start screen as well. Basically, Microsoft patented the tile based UI that can be swiped in horizontal direction.

2) Selective display of cursor

An application may be provided with an interface for hiding a cursor from or showing a cursor to a video driver and for causing cursor information to be saved in data storage and retrieved from data storage. The interface may include an application program interface (API), which may be callable from the application program. The interface may also include one or more bits included in a video driver, such that the modification of any of the one or more bits may change operation of the video driver. Modification of at least some of the bits may cause a cursor to be hidden from the video driver, may cause a previously hidden cursor to be shown to the video driver, may cause cursor information to be saved in a data storage, or may cause the cursor information to be retrieved from the data storage.

2) Enabling electronic documents for limited-capability computing devices

System(s), method(s), and/or techniques ("tools") are described that enable electronic document functionality for a limited-capability computing device. The tools may enable a computing device with limited display capabilities to present and enable navigation through nested items or hierarchical view levels of an electronic document. The tools may also build renderable view information by which a device may enable electronic document functionality based on the capabilities of that device.

3) Vehicle computer system with audio entertainment system


A vehicle computer system has an audio entertainment system implemented in a logic unit and audio digital signal processor (DSP) independent from the host CPU. The audio entertainment system employs a set of ping/pong buffers and direct memory access (DMA) circuits to transfer data between different audio devices. Audio data is exchanged using a mapping overlay technique, in which the DMA circuits for two audio devices read and write to the same memory buffer. The computer system provides an audio manager API (application program interface) to enable applications running on the computer to control the various audio sources without knowing the hardware and implementation details of the underlying sound system. Different audio devices and their drivers control different functionality of the audio system, such as equalization, volume controls and surround sound decoding. The audio manager API transfers calls made by the applications to the appropriate device driver(s). The computer system also supports a speech recognition system. Speech utterances are picked up by a microphone and sampled at an internal sampling rate. However, the speech recognition system employs a lower sampling rate. The computer system converts microphone data from the higher internal sampling rate to the desired sampling rate by piggybacking the microphone data on command/message streams to an SPI (serial peripheral interface) of the audio DSP. The DSP performs normal low-pass filtering and down sampling on the data stream and then uses the SPI to send out the microphone data at the lower sampling rate.

4) Unlimited history store for navigational web applications


A unique system and method that facilitates storing virtually all web content that has been viewed or visited by a user on the user’s local cache for access anytime by the user. The system and method involve monitoring the user’s web activity. Pages that have been viewed or visited can be saved at timed intervals to a local cache. If pages have been updated, those changes can be saved. Thus, multiple versions of a web page can be accessed and the user can select which version to view. The updated page can be visually modified to distinguish between older and newer content. If offline, the user can still view desired pages by accessing them from the local cache. By saving the user’s web activity, the user can resume a previous browsing session. A user can also choose to receive periodic notifications when changes to previously viewed pages occur.

5) Visual answering machine

An answering machine tool is described which, when a message is received, accesses caller identification data associated with the message and from this data identifies an image for the message. Data is then output to cause an icon comprising this image to be displayed. This icon, in turn, may be manipulated and interacted with by a user, by touching the icon on a touch sensitive screen or by other means, such as mouse pointer or stylus. This causes the message to be replayed, moved, deleted or be subject to any other course of action that the visual rendering of the message affords the user.

6) Computer-based gaming teams

Groups are formed, in a computer-based (e.g., on-line) gaming environment, based on social relationships between players. Teams are formed from members of the group. Team formation is based on a game related interest. Each team is assigned an identity that is maintained within a single game and across multiple sessions of a game. The team can interact within the gaming environment much like an individual user can interact. Teams can play games with other in-group and out-of-group teams. Team members can play games with each other. Team statistics and achievements can be accumulated and aggregated. Team profiles provide information about the team, such as a list of the members of the team. Via team profiles, a member of a team can see information about other members of the team, such as other teams to which they belong. Team members can send and receive intra-team messages.

You can find more interesting patents from Microsoft at

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Pradeep, a Computer Science & Engineering graduate.