Amazon has been granted a patent on a “gravity-based link assist” system — a method of pulling a user’s on-screen pointer toward a link or clickable object when it travels within a “gravitational field” on the page.

The idea is to make pages easier to navigate, but as Wired News points out, the technique also makes it much easier to click on a product to buy.

Here’s how the patent describes the approach: “A user interface of an electronic content rendering device implements gravity-based link assist to enhance user experience when browsing linked content. As a user moves a pointer along a trajectory across various links and objects, gravitational fields surrounding the links and objects provide a pulling effect that draws the pointer toward these fields. Responsive to pointer deceleration being detected when the pointer resides within a gravitational field, the link assist repositions the pointer to a center of the link or object relative to the trajectory of the pointer within the field.”

It reminds me a bit of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect dashboard interface, where the on-screen buttons act like magnets, helping your virtual hand stick to them as you navigate.

Amazon applied for the patent in May 2010, and it was granted Feb. 25.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Comments

  • Guest

    Congrats to ‘zon on the ‘tent!

  • Will H.

    More bull**** software patents.

  • http://twitter.com/Vroo Vroo (Bruce Leban)

    As described, this sounds like a terrible feature. Let’s hope Amazon patented this to prevent anyone else from doing it. (And debouncing and jitter removal is hardly new if that’s what they’re really doing.)

  • callmeisaac

    Amazon patents gravity!!

  • cle001

    Sounds more like tricking you into clicking on an ad – as if there weren’t enough of those popping up all the time.

  • Vandrvekn

    I think if this is ever implemented, there will be an add-on for Firefox to block it the next day.

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.
Android EngineerPicMonkey Inc.
Principal Software DeveloperSpoken Communications
Principal, Network Architect EngineerEMC, Isilon Storage Division