We have seen quite a few hover-touch related patents from Microsoft in the past. A new Microsoft patent titled “Hover-Sensitive Control Of Secondary Display” explains a new application/use-case for hover-touch concept. Normally, when we use a TV remote or game controller, they tend to have fixed physical buttons mapped to pre-defined control actions. Without even looking at the remote control, we comfortably change volume or change channels. In the recent days, using devices like smartphones and tablets instead of remote controls have become a trend. But when we use these devices for controlling the content on TV or any other secondary display, these devices do not have the familiar buttons at the familiar locations and therefore leads to poor experience. This results in a “heads-down” operation where the users focus is directed towards the hand held touch sensitive device rather than a secondary display
In this Microsoft patent, they describe a system which creates a heads-up interaction where a user keeps their attention on a secondary display like TV while using a hover-sensitive device like a phone or tablet as a controller for an application whose output is being displayed on the secondary display.
Breaking away from the conventional corresponding controls model facilitates producing the heads-up interaction. Unlike conventional systems that display a control on the phone, example methods and apparatus may not display the control on the phone. Instead, a control may be displayed on a secondary display and hover interactions with the phone may be used to move a cursor on the secondary display. When the cursor is positioned as desired by the user on the secondary display (e.g., over a control), then a touch interaction on the phone may activate the control. Since there is nothing to look at on the phone, the user’s attention remains on the secondary display. Example apparatus and methods use hover and touch interactions on a touch and hover-sensitive device to provide visual feedback on a secondary display and as a proxy for physical buttons.