Saturday, 12 December 2009

What's new in touch sensing mobile phones?

 I have worked on a lot of touch sensing technology. I am particularly interested in the remote transmission of touch and feeling over the web.  One device I invented and built in 2005  was  a "heartbeat mouse".  This allowed your heartbeat to be measured and replicated as a physical beat or thump on a computer  mouse with someone you are communicating to on the web, e.g.  a friend. It was possibly useful for Instant Messenger type applications.  I build a demo unit when I worked at Microsoft, the heartbeat being detected via optical sensors methods and the beat replicated using a magnetic mechanical actuator. Most people liked it, others thought it wacky, but I never patented it, and now in the public domain, so cannot be patented. It  is research that can be shared. Microsoft has deleted the web page that described it so I can't show the original  image.

click to enlarge - image shows mockup but real hardware built and tested 

However I am still asked about this design and how it might be useful for touch sensing applications.
 A possible answer is via mobile phones, you are holding the mobile phone and talking to friend but can it replicate the feel of holding hands? The mobile phone is a substitute for holding someone's hand.  You could  choose to share your heartbeat  and also that of remote friend by holding hands.  The mechanical actuation technology is much more advanced now, the Microsoft version just used an modified oscillating  relay with pulse width modulation (PWM)  control to replicate feelings.( Curiously, the prototype was rather good at synthesising the feel of a cat purr , as the software control of the PWM was very fine. ) There are more applications  for lie detection, medical apps,  games and other fun ideas. It is practical to transmit and replicate skin temperature and conduction.
The only reason the project resurfaced is now the new "smart" actuation technology I have been testing for another job has been built, gone are old solenoids and other magnetic actuators.  The new technology provide much more subtle vibration  finger stroking effects, is silent and very low power.
Email me if interested
Lyndsay Williams

Friday, 4 December 2009

Open source sensing camera for Alzheimer's ?

I designed the first SenseCam for Microsoft Research in 1999 and it was released to the public in approx 2005. I left MSFT in 2007 and since then I have received a high demand for sensecams from brain injury people. Microsoft only have a limited number of Sensecams for loan only to qualified people, e.g. PhDs and doctors, not ordinary people. They are not for sale. The good news is that Vicon are releasing the Revue which is similar to a 2005 version sensecam, but only in limited numbers at first for research. It concerns me to get long emails from carers who cannot get a SenseCam.  My motivation for releasing a new sensecam is simply to help people with medical problems.

Girton Labs Ltd Cambridge is now a UK  government accredited Research and Development Establishment for science and technology.  We are considering releasing an open source version of a new sensing camera. This is due to the high demand we have for sensing cameras from brain injury people, so we have decided to possibly release an open source, free of charge design of a sensing camera. Girton Labs does not plan to profit from the sale or manufacture of this camera.  Open source hardware will allow release of schematics, system diagrams, software routines and sources of the specialised components. Off the shelf software will allow rapid viewing of images.

This new camera uses different sensing methods from the Microsoft SenseCam patent. It will enable the design to be released into the public domain in the near future. We need to check with our lawyers first however with respect to patents for my design for Microsoft of the first SenseCam and subsequent patents.

The camera captures audio (as customers asked for this) , high  resolution stills and  video, uses 8G memory cards and is wearable. The video compression allows 1:100 compression of significant events in the day with capture of events that were hard or impossible with sensecam, one example being a dietary application. A novel system of  sensors can capture a data record of food and drink eaten. This is currently on trial with a wearable device to record alcohol intake. The serendipidous discovery and testing of a multi sensor system to achieve this is delighting us.

Another very important improvement on the first sensecam is the ability to detect compliance with taking of precription medication.

We are considering releasing the design with Girton Labs getting no profit from the sales and manufacturer of the camera, simply to help people with Alzheimer's or other medical problems who have requested cameras.

I am very respectful of Microsoft Research Cambridge lawyers and their Intellectual Property and so the design uses very new sensing technology. Girton Labs is the first company in the world to use this new sensor device. It combines the functionality of the 4 sensecam sensors (acceleration, light, heat, temperature) into one tiny MEMs device, which costs around 3 Euro on the cost of a normal digital camera. The accelerometer is eliminated now, so results can be captured in moving vehicles with more accuracy.
A wireless link with a mobile phone allows GPS location tagging etc. The sensecam technology is not rocket science, it is a very simple system of sensors and camera to allow image compression and therefore  easy for others to build with readily available  parts.

Email Lyndsay Williams at for more details.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Microsoft Research 2009 human body power patent application published again

In 2004 one of my Microsoft patents was awarded for "Method and Apparatus for transmitting power and data using the human body"

Explained in this article in The Guardian  2004,
  "Computerising the body: Microsoft wins patent to exploit  network potential of skin" as here
In simple words our design (Williams, Vablais and Bathiche*) was to allow devices like headphones for your Ipod be attached to the ears without using wires or batteries in the earpiece. It is also useful for medical sensors to be attached to the body without wires.  I heard after I left Microsoft that the US military were also very interested in using this technology for their soldiers. The prototype I built and tested on my daughter in 2000 allowed audible music tones to be transmitted to a loudspeaker on her skin when I touched her, no batteries or wires on her.


It is interesting that Microsoft's lawyers  are still working on this technology 9 years after it was first prototyped as  patent has additional wider claims published July 2009, example as below.

From the US Patent Office Patent application published July 2009

Claim 1 "
 A system that facilitates reduction of wiring in connection with networking portable devices, comprising:a plurality of devices that are electrically networked together via a human body, which serves as a transmission medium for at least a subset of the devices."

Will Microsoft license this technology?

*Steve Bathiche was one of the inventors of the  Microsoft Surface computer.

 Drawing above  done by Microsoft's lawyers for the patent.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Prototype wireless sensing camera

Here is Girton Labs's  working prototype wireless sensing camera , transmits encrypted wireless images to a PC, lasts 1 year on small lithium cell, first application is for Assisted Living, i.e. those who live on their own. Captures and compresses all interesting daily images. Every room could have one. Should be reasonably to have it button sized, (one shown is a working  proof of concept).  Imagine it being like nerves all over your home, caring for you. Thermal images are scanned and compressed for interesting events in the home, people, doors opening and closing, fridge activity,  cookers left on, radiators, fires,  tv on/off. Useful also for energy management, can see heat from appliances switched on and wastage. Alternative version send text messages to cell phone on events. Could also send messages/images  to Twitter. Other versions of camera can transmit normal wide angle images.
Current prototype sends colour thermal images to PC.

Frequently Asked Questions.
Q. How is this different from  SenseCam that you designed for Microsoft?
A. It uses a totally different method of sensing, patent filed,  and so is new Intellectual Property.
Q. How else is different from the first sensecam?
A.   I designed SenseCam   for people with very severe memory problems. A person with Alzheimer's is forgetful and might mislay  the camera and all of the day's recorded  memory, this camera  transmits data to a central server or PC. As camera has radio transmitter it can also be located by it's signal  if lost, e.g. hidden under a cushion. There is no  limit  to number of images as transmitted to a large server.
The camera can be worn or fixed on ceiling of room.
Q. How do you get such long battery life?
A. Innovation adaptive clock technology, based on how mammals conserve power. Details available on signing of NDA.
Q. When is it available ?
A. Currently due for delivery to first customer this year.

Designed and built by Lyndsay Williams
More info

Image shows test thermal map

Saturday, 31 October 2009

SenseCam - a new type of video compression

Some SenseCams I built

image on right shows SenseBulb messages

There have been quite a few articles re Sensecam in press recently re Microsoft licensing it. It is more than just a time lapse camera. I designed it initially in 1999 as a new type of video compression system to capture all the interesting moments in life - but leave out the repetition and dull bits. Many of us sit behind PCs all day and there are better ways of capturing the pc desktop see Microsoft's MyLifeBits as an example. (MyLifeBits does as a whole lot more, but this is one interesting feature of it, here is the book) Patent introduction above shows my 2004  invention of Sensecam for Alzheimer's.
In SenseCam, sensors such as heat sensors, to detect people, light sensors, to trigger a sequence of pictures of rooms as person walks through doorways. An accelerometer can detect user moving and capture image and also reduce blur in the image. A microphone is triggered on loud sounds and images captured. Tagging data with GPS as in my SmartQuill patent here. Even a heartrate increase can be logged with SenseCam images. These events may happen about once every 20 seconds and played back as a continuous sequence of images at about 5 frames per second. That gives an approximate video compression ratio of up to approx 1:100.
Here is a 2007 video example of my bike ride, the compression is around 1:15 here as quite a lot of action events when cycling. It is from Girton, Cambridge, up Huntingdon Road, past the Astronomy Labs to Microsoft Research.
A less dynamic sort of day will allow compression of around 1:100 or better. My "normal" days are probably a bit like many of us engineers , behind a PC, writing and debugging software, hardware debugging with oscilloscope and soldering iron. (I ignore email if I am debugging software as interrupts train of thought).
The SenseCam also captures around 400% more of the view as it's close to a fish eye lens view 104 degrees compared to around 50 degrees on normal camera.

JPEG comparison is a compression ratio of approx 1:100.

What next after SenseCam? After I left Microsoft I set up Girton Labs and designed SenseBulb technology to capture all that the Sensecam missed. It is a camera with heat imaging and captures life in all it's minutiae. It's first application is a camera that replaces a lightbulb and sends mobile phone text messages of activity in the house. Thermal images are replicated as "colour shadows" and so no real privacy issues. Mundane events such as back doors left open, fridges being opened, people moving around the home, eating, sleeping, TVs switched on indicate the "aliveness" of a house and it occupants. This is useful for Assisted Living, Alzheimer's and people living on their own. A family member will get a text message saying fridge door opened 3 times this hour, that means all is well.

I guess some people would find it useful to text or Twitter "I'm home" completely automatically via SenseBulb rather than manual typing. SenseBulb transmits encrypted text messages messages via GSM network so as not to inform burglars, Twitter is for all to see. I have prototyped Sensebulb V1 and its fun.
A bit more here on SenseBulb. (Patent filed) Page very out of date as current version V2 with colour pixel display now being tested.

Email me if any questions on this technology at or call me on +44 (0) 7970 101578 (Cambridge UK).

Girton Labs's new sensing camera

Friday, 30 October 2009

SenseCam Cosmetics

The SenseCam case has had small changes  since my first minimal design of 1999 then 2005, case molding by Microsoft Hardware Group.
Why so minimal? I design all my computers with no on/off switch, I use sensors like accelerometers or light to power on/off design.
From left to right, you can see the 104 degrees wide angle lens, enough to capture image of your shoes, LED status indicators, Passive Infra Red Sensor (PIR) and light sensor. The bump is for the AA cells, a lot easier to find in a hurry than a Lithium charger. I am interesting to note that the new Sensecam still uses a huge filter for the PIR.
The lanyard was nice and simple - until someone decided to "upgrade" it to magnetic catches using neodymium magnets. I had to quickly email one of our principle Microsoft Researcher users of sensecam, who had a heart pacemaker, to not be alarmed. Neo magnets are 5 times more powerful than normal magnets, and used to control the settings of pacemakers!

Friday, 23 October 2009

an early sensecam 1976

I started experimenting with sensecams when I was 17. I had left school, and this was a paying vacation job between school and going to university. My other paying jobs were writing for Practical Electronics and Electronics Today International. The company was Baxall Electronics, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire, and consisted of me the first employee and Malcolm Baxter the boss, and owner Don Hall . The company was based in a small wooden shed. Malcolm had invented "Watchman" a Eurocard size board full of TTL and analogue components that could be used to set a zone on a video image to send alerts. Typically a control knob would be used to set a maker over a door in the view, and so video recordings of intruders could be captured. I did the testing of these and other video devices. Vidicon tubes keep burning up. I confess I never did tell Malcolm it was my error. I learned a lot about signal to noise ratio in analogue video circuits, great fun. Malcolm was ingenious, the video signal and power went down same bit of cable. My job was to optimise the transistor circuit for the best signal to noise ratio. Baxall Electronics grew to become one of the largest supplier of CCTV in the UK and the world, with several hundred employees but was taken over in 2007. Cameras were initially put in the London Underground. 33 years later the UK now has more cameras in public than any other country in the world. You might be viewed up to 300 times per day on London Cameras.
Roll on Microsoft's Sensecam.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Why no audio on the SenseCam?

Many people ask why there is no audio on the Sensecam when I invented it for Microsoft?
It can be done, one, it is easy to use a standard digital audio recorder (e.g. maybe the new Apple ipod nano) to record audio with time synchronised information to sensecam video. Two, my concerns over privacy issues, conversation is likely to be inhibited if you know audio is being recorded. Some people just dry up and you never hear their best (or worst) jokes! Third, I did design an audio compression algorithm for Sensecam. This uses snippets of sound bytes from the day, e.g. train sound, London Underground, car engine sounds, laughter, footsteps, kettle sound etc to add an atmosphere of sound, and adventure to the video. It did not record conversation. The video stills are playing back at about 100 times faster than the days' events so the audio needs to keep up. I was developing this when I was deleted from Microsoft, and the work never got patented. It was based on detecting sounds over a preset amplitude and an FFT filter to pick out interesting sounds of artefacts. There was a microphone in early version of sensecams, see it in image, by the strap.

The iPod nano allows users to capture audio as here The Nano also captures video as well.
It is interesting to note synchronised music can be added to SenseCam videos, here are some.
First ever sensecam video here and another here

Disclaimer, I am a Microsoft Shareholder
I work part time for Apple Inc as Consulting expert
on my patent sold to them re iPhone sensor technology as here.

Lyndsay Williams

Friday, 16 October 2009

A brief history of Microsoft's Sensecam

Oct 15th 2009, Microsoft finally license Sensecam see here. This is a sensing camera to help people with Alzheimer's.
(Image shows early version of SenseCam)

I invented and built the first sensecam in 1999, my patent filed 2004 as here , first paragraph explains my plans for helping Alzheimer's .

 I had been approached by Roger Needham, then head of Microsoft Research Cambridge in 1998, to work for Microsoft Research after invention of my SmartQuill, a sensor telephone appeared on , this technology now used in iPhone. * See end of article.
Why did I invent SenseCam?
I wanted to help a person with memory problems who was always losing keys, also a dentist friend of mine, Dr Jane E. Jacott, Woodford,  Cheshire,  wanted some technology for time and motion studies of how dentists spend their time, sitting, standing, doing surgery, paperwork, etc. This really inspired me and concerned me for some months, as I wanted to help her.  I also have lost a few months memory after being hit by a car . It is torture to lose your memory after a car crash. I think it was so much worse for Mum & Dad as they knew all but I lost my memories for about a year.
I built the first SenseCam using an Analog Devices accelerometer, a PIC microcontroller a digital camera that could take 64 images, a good capacity for 1999! It was hand soldered on Veroboard and programmed in PIC assembler by me in 4KB of memory. I attached it to front of my bike basket to capture images of all the drivers in Cambridge who kept hitting me. I curiously ended up with more pictures of ladies not looking after children in buggies and buggies ran in road and I got pics of wide eyed scared babies when I braked ! (accelerometer captured braking and triggered pic) But a lot of the images were poor and blurred and pic of a car bumper is dull. I searched for months for a suitable tiny fish eye lens and found one , this allowed a very wide angle (104 degrees) image. So wide angle it could even remember the shoes I wore on the day! I put the project on hold for a year or so until I found a camera module with 128Mbyte of memory. Meanwhile I was working with John Krumm, of Microsoft Research Redmond on people location badges using radio and accelerometers. This worked like indoor GPS. I have to say at Microsoft Research, my employer, there were many other supportive folk, but Andrew Blake was one of the the best. (Roger Needham also but sadly died,) Andrew knew I had being doing experiments with accelerometers on the body and prompted me to do a device with lots of raw sensor data output so the machine learning people could analyze it. Perhaps add a camera? The key bit to getting sensecam working was my algorithm for recording a sequence of rooms. I said to my then husband, who kept loosing his keys, which room where you in? Library, car, hall, lounge..retrace your steps. I designed software and hardware with a light and colour detector, accelerometer,temperature sensor and passive infrared detector. When we walk through a door, a step change in light occurs, i.e. a door frame detector, so an image can be triggered. Person in front of you, triggered by heat, captured image. Accelerometer, used to capture pic when you turned around, so pics all blurred! But I turned this bug around to capture image when person *not* moving so steady image. This was all done in an 8 bit PIC microcontroller, I did the hardware and software for this and James Srinivasen did the memory card software and other clever bits.
Trevor Taylor did a lot of the early pcbs and hardware. I designed and built the hardware and software. There were many late solitary nights with soldering iron and oscilloscope. Stuffing all my rat's nest of hardware into a case the size of a match box was hard! It was very embarrassing when early SenseCams burst into flames due to lithium battery recharging issues and the whole of Microsoft Research (then in offices in Petty Cury, Cambridge) was evacuated.

Here is first pic taken with sensecam,

Kings College, Cambridge

Grass is pink as I took out the Infra red lens, so the chlorophyl in grass looks red.

I had about two weeks to get a demo working for a Microsoft trade show, Techfest in Seattle and Bill Gates wanted to see it! I worked late weekends, luckily my husband looked after daughter. My managers did not want to show it at Seattle, so I had to be persuasive. Bill liked it, smiled a lot, and said he would like one for his pet dog to check how it was treated when it visited the neighbours. I hand built about 18 sensecams, then my boss said could I make another 100 including some for training American soldiers in Iraq as mentioned here? I said there are better people than me to do production engineering, suggested a company and that I didn't support the war in Iraq. (My boss was North American, I am British) At my termination meeting in 2007, this was mentioned as a reason for making me redundant. I left and I did next version of sensing camera, which I am testing today. Loopholes in my patent allow new inventions.
I must mention the time I was honoured by Gordon Bell visiting my office around 2000. Gordon said, never throw any emails away, this was a flashbulb memory moment for me, I was sat in my chair and Gordon stood at my office door. Gordon has continued to be of great support to me and my memory projects before and after I left Microsoft, thank you. Some of Gordon's and Jim Gemmell's work with SenseCam covered in this book Total Recall.
Also was very pleased that Narinder Kapur of Addenbrookes approached me to help with memory problems (wanted SmartQuill but I suggested SenseCam) and Emma Berry who did the neuro trials with patients with only a few hours of memory.
Microsoft Seattle helped me with later case designs.

Today, (16th Oct) I am happily testing my Sensebulb, a sensing lightbulb that sends text messages if people have kitchen accidents, fall over, leave the cooker on, really for Alzheimer's . Chris Curry, who set up Acorn Computers after parting with Clive Sinclair, approached me re SenseBulb, and I am happy to be behind an oscilloscope debugging my software.

Here are some of the my SenseCam videos click here

I will update this blog in case I have forgotten anyone, email me at .
Thanks also to Jack Schoefield of The Guardian for this article about my work.

Anyway, me and my team of trusty hardware/software engineers, many from Microsoft, past and present, are available at Girton Labs if you want help or questions with your latest projects. I am at, or cell +44 (0) 7970 101578.

* SmartQuill telephone patent with sensors? What happened to this invention of mine from 1997? Apple bought the patent in 2008 as a lot of the technology of this patent in the iPhone.

Lyndsay Williams

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Microsoft to license Sensecam

I am very pleased indeed to see the SenseCam become a product, this is great news for customers. I invented the first Sensecam in 1999, wanting to help people with severe memory problems. It is very good news that Microsoft Research can license this technology.
Licensed to OMG, Oxford Metrics Group, who do the special effects for the Harry Potter films.
OMG shares went up 26% on announcement of this deal with Microsoft:
OMG and Microsoft have been working on this deal since June 2009.
Official Announcement here
OMG contacted me in April 2008 asking if I was interested in working with them, I did wonder why!

15 October 2009
OMG plc
(“OMG” or the “Group”)
IP License Agreement with Microsoft
- Vicon signs license agreement with Microsoft to develop new medical technology -
OMG plc, Oxford Metrics Group (LSE: OMG), (“OMG” or “the Group”) the technology group providing
image understanding products for the entertainment, defence, life science and engineering industries
announced today that it has signed an intellectual property (“IP”) license agreement with Microsoft
The agreement will allow the Group’s Vicon arm, which develops motion capture products for the life
science, engineering and entertainment industries, to manufacture and sell devices incorporating
Microsoft’s SenseCam technology worldwide.
SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that takes photographs automatically, without user
intervention. Developed by Microsoft Research Cambridge, the device is most commonly used by
medical researchers as an aid for people with memory loss, but has great potential in a number of
different application areas. Research into these areas will be possible now that it will be more widely
Vicon will unveil a new device, which is based on the existing SenseCam technology on its stand
#1413 at the annual Neuroscience Conference in Chicago on 17-21 October.
Ahead of the device launch OMG plc Chief Executive Officer, Nick Bolton, said:
“I’d like to thank Microsoft and Microsoft Research Cambridge for allowing Vicon to get involved in
such an important product that can support a variety of researchers, including those investigating
memory-loss. It’s an honour to work with Microsoft and to build on the amazing work they have done
with SenseCam over the past five years.
“This IP license agreement means we’re the first company to be able to deliver Microsoft’s ground
breaking technology to a wider audience. All of us at OMG look forward to working closely with
Microsoft and the researchers that have been using SenseCam Project technology and continuing to
move it forward.”
Andrew Herbert, Distinguished Engineer and Managing Director, Microsoft Research
Cambridge said:
“Microsoft’s willingness to license intellectual property arising from its research enables partner
companies to bring innovative products to market. This agreement represents the next stage in the life of SenseCam and will bring the device to a broader community.”

Friday, 4 September 2009

What next after Microsoft's SenseCam? SenseBulb - The Lightbulb that cares

At Microsoft Reseach Cambridge in 1999 I invented the SenseCam , a sensing camera that captured images of all the minutia of the day. I designed SenseCam to aid people with Alzheimer's and the team at Addenbrookes Hospital , Cambridge and Microsoft did a great job with proving this on patients. One patient could not remember more than 1 day, with SenseCam was increased to 4 months.

I left Microsoft Research Cambridge in 2007 and then set up Girton Labs. I wanted to move forward with my research using novel cameras to help people with memory loss. I was also obsessed with making the lightbulb more useful, we know about low power White Light Emitting Diodes for home lighting, but the light bulb in our ceiling is a bird's eye view to watch over and care for us. I wanted to solve problems like leaving the gas hob on and walking out of the kitchen, and forgetting to come back and so a burnt pan or worse. If we live on our own (like I do) and fall and have an accident, how do we get help? We don't want cameras (too invasive and too much data to process ), might not be able to reach our phone, and don't want gadgets strapped to our body, especially when in the bathroom. The answer - SenseBulb, covered here today by the BBC . Thermopiles measure temperature at a distance, they are used in heat seeking missiles and also non contact ear thermometers. I built some SenseBulb prototypes to measure temperatures of the objects in my kitchen. If we leave the hob on and a person is in the kitchen, that is considered safe, if we walk out of room for 20 mins and leave hob on, an alert needs to be sent. I initially tested bulbs with wireless (433Mhz) messages to the PC and then relayed message via internet. Bu not all people have the internet ( some also switch wireless network off at night!) and so I redesigned it to have a SIM card in lightbulb and send text messages directly to your cell phone or a friend. Messages in test took about 30 secs to be received (we can pay a premium for faster, reliable delivery times). The device, called SenseBulb, used very fast sensors, sampling temperature 200 times second, and this can also detect hand waves. You fall and don't move for a time period, bulb "calls a friend". You fall, but can also wave at bulb, bulb flashes to acknowledge, sends text to a friend, who calls to check up. Bulb also used for normal family care, I am a single parent, I might be out at the pub, but bulb sends me text messages to say "fridge door been opened 4 times in last hour", so I know all is well at home with my family. Detecting a fridge door open doesn't need switches, a thermal image signature from door open (quick temperature drop, then slow rise) is sufficient. Same with the cold draft from the cat flap, I get text message sent when cat in!
The state of the project, Sept 2009, a working PCB of hardware and software, sending GSM messages via Orange mobile phone network. People want to use the device, e.g. elderly people on their own. What next? I'm looking for some investment to cover my time, to build a smaller pcb and bulb, adjust algorithms for more messages, wrapped in a beautiful 3D CAD designed lamp enclosure, make some prototypes and delivery to university and medical researchers.  I estimate a bulb could be sold for <$100, business plan is similar to a cell phone, annual contract for 500 messages/ month.

More here

Monday, 3 August 2009

Girton Labs Sensepaper

I am Lyndsay Williams, Managing Director of Girton Labs, Cambridge, England . We design unique hardware sensing platforms for mobile phones and wearable computers.
y I of my new blog, a fine sunny day in Cambridge, and I am working on new printing techniques for my sensesurface project.
this is a hybrid paper computer, 2mm thin.
My printing press keeps smoking and blocking up so I am not
bothering to to put all the screws back in as it is taken apart
so often.

Interesting PowerPoint Talk from Microsoft Research Cambridge on
Talk is using example of "Rita Researcher", her hardware invention and patent on Human Body Networking. Here is my Microsoft Patent on Human Body Networking The PowerPoint explains how and why Microsoft work with Intellectual Property. There aren't many Rita's like that at Microsoft... now :-)
Image of SensePaper prototype - DrinkMe