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Re: Microsoft Patents the Body Electric


From: The Ghost In The Machine
Subject: Re: Microsoft Patents the Body Electric
Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 04:00:12 GMT
User-agent: slrn/0.9.8.0 (Linux)

In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Bob in CT
<address@hidden>
 wrote
on Fri, 25 Jun 2004 19:25:08 GMT
<address@hidden>:
> On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 20:00:22 GMT, The Ghost In The Machine 
> <address@hidden> wrote:
>
>> In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Hamilcar Barca
>> <address@hidden>
>>  wrote
>> on Tue, 22 Jun 2004 19:05:02 -0600
>> <address@hidden>:
>>> In article <address@hidden> (Tue, 22 
>>> Jun
>>> 2004 15:04:22 -0700), theodp wrote:
>>>
>>>> On Tuesday, the USPTO awarded Microsoft a patent for its 'Method
>>>> and apparatus for transmitting power and data using the human body'
>>>> [2], which covers the use of the human body as a conductive medium
>>>> (bus) over which power, data and control signals may be distributed.
>>>
>>> Sir Bilious and his minion, the Earl of Blammer, will be fabulously well
>>> to do.  Just think
>>>
>>>   Earth's population:          5,200,000,000
>>>   Licensing fee (per body):             $299
>>>                           ------------------
>>>                           $1,554,800,000,000
>>>
>>> Of course, there will be body piracy and Microslave may need to lower 
>>> the
>>> EULA fees for developing countries, but still!
>>>
>>> Let's hope the Free Human Foundation and the Open Body Initiative design
>>> some new humans quickly!
>>
>> Couldn't we claim prior art on this one?  After all, the body Electric
>> could be referring to Mary Shelley's work _Frankenstein_, or perhaps
>> just humans in general, which have been in existence (and creating
>> children) for millions of years -- or 6,000, if one's a Young Earth
>> Creationist -- either way one's covered, even if one assumes 1200
>> year lifespans, as copyright is death + 70 and patents are merely 17.
>>
>> If electric is important one could point to experiments of
>> the 70's, in which brainwaves controlled a model train, or
>> "lie detectors" (EEG/ECG-based polygraph units).
>>
>> See also Stanislaw Lem's _Star Diaries_ (Voyage 21, IINM).
>>
>
> To infringe the claim, you need "a body of a living creature for coupling 
> the first device to the second device and for conducting the electrical 
> signal from the first device to the second device and the initialization 
> information from the second device to the first device, wherein the first 
> and second devices establish a master and a slave relationship there 
> between."
>
> I don't see a real use for this invention.
>
Ah, OK.  I still say there's the possibility of prior art,
although I'm not sure how useful sex near a live wire and
thence getting electrocuted might be.  (Ouch!)

Fortunately, that's about the only use apart from rather
specialized devices I can think of.  Presumably the intent
was to allow for the suing of those developing devices
such as a wristwatch/fanny pack combo, where the wristwatch
picks up signals from the fanny pack using the skin.

Another variant would be something in one's ear, which would
be the receiver component of a rather interesting cell phone
(the fanny pack in that case would be the rest of it, and probably
contain the control keyboard/panel).

Lucky Microsoft...but I'm not sure regarding the commercial potential;
another method after all is to have a small wireless transceiver
in the fanny pack.  (Presumably, that's patented, too.)

-- 
#191, address@hidden
It's still legal to go .sigless.


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