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Tailoring computing experience based on user’s mental state and quality of attention: Key neurotechnology patent #30

Automated selection

– Illus­tra­tive image from U.S. Patent No. 7,395,507

Today we high­light a fas­ci­nat­ing 2008 patent assigned to Microsoft, dis­cussing assess­ment tech­niques such as pupil track­ing or head ori­en­ta­tion sen­sors to iden­ti­fy where and what the user is focused on–and what types of  infor­ma­tion and/ or noti­fi­ca­tions to dis­play accord­ing­ly.

U.S. Patent No. 7,395,507: Auto­mat­ed selec­tion of appro­pri­ate infor­ma­tion based on a com­put­er user’s con­text.

  • Assignee(s): Microsoft Cor­po­ra­tion
  • Inventor(s): James O. Robarts, Dan Newell, Ken­neth H. Abbott
  • Tech­nol­o­gy Cat­e­go­ry: Neu­ro-mon­i­tor­ing
  • Issue Date: July 1, 2008

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘507 patent dis­clos­es meth­ods for assess­ing a user’s men­tal state and more broad­ly the user’s con­text, to dis­cern whether or not to present the users with a mes­sage (e.g., an adver­tise­ment). The spec­i­fi­ca­tion describes tech­niques for assess­ing men­tal states such as a user’s like­ly inten­tions, pref­er­ences and level/ qual­i­ty of atten­tion. These assess­ment tech­niques include pupil track­ing sen­sors or head ori­en­ta­tion sen­sors to iden­ti­fy where and what the user is focused on. Con­sid­er­ing the user con­text (i.e., the men­tal state), the sys­tem will (or will not) present the adver­tise­ment. Hence, the ‘507 patent is more of a snap­shot of the user’s cur­rent men­tal state for infor­ma­tion man­age­ment rather than a diag­nos­tic assess­ment of longer-term neu­ro­log­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal state char­ac­ter­iz­ing oth­er brain health assess­ment patents. The near­ly 100 for­ward cita­tions and broad­ly claimed inven­tive con­cept are among the fac­tors mak­ing the ‘507 patent a key non-inva­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy patent.


A sys­tem fil­ters received mes­sages (e.g., unso­licit­ed adver­tise­ments) to deter­mine if they are appro­pri­ate for a user based on the non-sta­t­ic, con­stant­ly evolv­ing, con­text of the user. The sys­tem can track the user’s con­text by mon­i­tor­ing var­i­ous envi­ron­men­tal para­me­ters, such as relat­ed to the user’s phys­i­cal, men­tal, com­put­ing and data envi­ron­ments, and can mod­el the cur­rent con­text of the user based at least in part on the mon­i­tor­ing. The sys­tem selects a set of one or more fil­ters to apply to incom­ing mes­sages based on the user’s con­text, and the select­ed fil­ters can be updat­ed as the user’s con­text changes. Mes­sages that sur­vive the fil­ters are then eval­u­at­ed against the user’s con­text to deter­mine whether they should be pre­sent­ed imme­di­ate­ly or stored for delayed pre­sen­ta­tion.

Illus­tra­tive Claim 19. One or more com­put­er-read­able media stor­ing com­put­er-exe­cutable instruc­tions that, when exe­cut­ed, direct a com­put­er to:

  • ascer­tain a user’s con­text from data rep­re­sen­ta­tive of var­i­ous con­di­tions of the user’s envi­ron­ment;
  • select a sub­set of a set of mul­ti­ple fil­ters based on the user’s cur­rent con­text, the fil­ters spec­i­fy­ing inter-fil­ter infor­ma­tion that facil­i­tates deter­min­ing a com­pat­i­bil­i­ty between two or more fil­ters; and
  • fil­ter unso­licit­ed mes­sages based at least on the user’s con­text and a com­pos­ite of the select­ed sub­set of mul­ti­ple fil­ters.

To learn more about mar­ket data, trends and lead­ing com­pa­nies in the dig­i­tal brain health space –dig­i­tal plat­forms for brain/ cog­ni­tive assess­ment, mon­i­tor­ing and enhance­ment– check out this mar­ket report. To learn more about our analy­sis of 10,000+ patent fil­ings, check out this IP & inno­va­tion neu­rotech report.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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