Google patent application mirrors MIT student’s 2009 invention

“In 2009 we posted a report that pointed to a fascinating invention by MIT’s Pranav Mistry who had invented a wearable device called the SixSense,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Our report included a TED video of Pranav introducing his invention to the world. One of the applications created by Mistry was having his device project an active keypad onto the users hand or a wall so that they could key in a phone number,” Purcher reports. “Apparently the engineers at Google were so inspired by Mistry’s invention that they decided to copy and modify it for their future Project Glass product that’s due to arrive sometime in the mystical future.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Google’s Larry Page: How well is your ‘thermonuclear war’ working, Apple? – January 17, 2013


  1. Did the student patent it? Market and sell it? No? Then why can’t someone else take the idea and run with it….and actually make a good idea useful? The idea..that we own ideas…and that know one else can use it…despite “we” just sitting on said idea and letting it rot..prevents progress.

      1. If he described a series of actions and effects and described (even in general terms) the kind of equipment that could bring about these actions and effects then he described an implementation. It then becomes prior art that must be documented in any subsequent patent application that relates to this implementation.

    1. If a Ph.D at MIT said he invented it, you could be bloody sure it was patented. So what’s with the no-it-all “No.” Bullshit. You just can’t handle that we’re sticking it to Google for being a bloody copycat. For months I’ve been hearing you quacks yapping about Apple stealing ideas. Well, look in the mirror boys and girls because your beloved Google was caught openly stealing yet another idea. I wonder if back-stabbing Schmidt had him come over for supper to spill his guts.

        1. University patent policies are modeled after corporate policies: If an employee creates it, the university owns it. This policy has been validated in the courts.

      1. The U.S. is still (for just a while longer) a “First to Invent” system (as opposed to most of the world’s “First to File” system).

        You have one year from when you publicly announce something within which to file for the patent. If the original inventor does not file for the patent within that one year then no one (in the U.S.) can file for that patent. The public announcement must be considered “prior art” in any patent application and cannot be patented in and of itself.

        If you file for a patent within that one year then the original inventor’s name must be one of the names on the application (there can be dozens of names, but the original inventor MUST be one of them).

    1. Infringing who? Patent Trolls? Proffessional legal hit men? There’s a difference between Apple being losing to crafty trolls versus Google right out stealing ideas. They also used their dog judas schmidt to steal from Apple, chucky. How he’s not in jail is beyond me.

    2. “Hey MDN…Apple infringes patents as well….oh but sorry you don’t like to talk about that kind of thing do you…sorry about that…*smirk*”

      Lulz…another fool defending their S. Korean, PoS stolen knock-off.

    3. There are so many patents and overlapping claims that I doubt if any big tech company is completely blameless in IP infringement.

      That said, the key issues are intent and response. Did they knowingly and intentionally infringe on a product? When they were confronted with the infringement, did they hide behind the courts and countersuits and media propaganda, or did they address the infringement by either ceasing the infringing activity or negotiating a licensing agreement with the patent owner in good faith.

    4. Go read up on Standards Essential Patents, idiot. Samsung and Google’s charges of patent infringement against Apple are based on SEP patents, otherwise known as FRAND patents. Those are patents that are pledged to all comers for a standard, minimal licensing fee. Google and Samsung have tried to extort higher fees from Apple, refusing to license the SEP patents they’ve pledged license to everyone at the same rate. They are about to face heavy fines in the EU for this.

  2. They could have a totally different implementation.

    If you look through patents you’ll see many with the same ideas but different ways of doing things.

    Look at some Apple’s multi-touch patents and then look at the other multi-touch patents out there. All of them have very similar if not flat out identical images depicting usage.

        1. Oh, Really, really?

          Let’s quote Page. How clear do you need it.

          Here are the first two lines of Google’s patent abstract:

          “The present application discloses systems and methods for a virtual input device. In one example, the virtual input device includes a projector and a camera. The projector projects a pattern onto a surface.”

  3. ‘All of them have very similar if not flat out identical images depicting usage.’

    Google would have used three wheels not two.

    The wheel was the invention – fool!

    1. Multi-touch gestures such as Pinch to zoom were demonstrated in the 1980s.

      Fingerworks who apple bought referenced many of the original patents in their own patents.

      the point I’m making is that it is not uncommon to see patents for the same ‘ideas’ and since you can’t patent an ‘idea’ there is nothing shocking or wrong about it.

  4. In the eyes of the public, Pranav Mistry, “SixSense”; appear that he owns the birth rights and genius behind everything Augmented Reality.

    In the same regard, for those who saw Google’s, “Glass”, conceptual project demonstration video on YouTube; they too, will believe and more importantly remember, Google must of had, some amount of ownership by working on something so big. Essentially, accepting Google as the founding father to this technology and this direction to all of us.

    Publicly exposing these conceptual demonstrations could have damaging effects to Apple, since we only can read about patents Apple has filed for and patents that have been approved. Happily, Apple doesn’t promote false realities… but in the eyes of the masses… Apple could look like a copy-cat – unfortunately.

    We, the public will never really realize how deep and how long Apple has invested in its R&D of AR, until Apple delivers us a true product. And hopefully, the patents filed prior to Pranav Mistry’s show case and Google’s Goggles, will justify and hail rightful ownership when Apple, in fact does produce.

    1. More direct to the Article:

      Lets hope Google’s Patent will not be approved, and that Pranav Mistry did so when he created his experiments. Allowing Appel perhaps to buy Pranav Mistry out.

      Lets just see who gains approval first?

  5. This patent isn’t very practice as a keypad. I hold the phone with one hand and then project a keypad on the other. Then while holding the phone I touch my other hand whith what? My forehead? Tongue? Even if I fold my fingers down on the projected hand it will be way more complicated than just touching the giant android phone screen.

  6. I distinctly remember seeing Woz demonstrate this exact device about 6 years ago. He had a small black box on the table in front of him, and it projected a red image of a full sized keyboard onto the table where a real one should be, and he typed by tapping the table in each virtual key.

    He mentioned how he was interested in innovative devices, left Apple to pursue these advancements.

  7. I don’t think its the engineers in google who came up with the idea. It is probable that Pranav Mistry used Google as a search engine during his research and google took note of his searches. Any research done using google (or any other google products …. youtube for instance) is risky. Beware…. they are just a private company out to make money and can steal ideas.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.