A newly published patent application, submitted by Microsoft to the USPTO back in October 2009, describes the personalization of a "gesture-based system" -- presumably, what would become Kinect -- through detailed user profiles that could be stored on a network. It's anyone's guess if this is a glimpse at where Kinect profiles are going (through potential updates) or what they could have been.

The patent outlines a "gesture profile" that could record user preferences for various tasks and system commands. "For example," the application proposes, "a user may prefer to use a checkmark to indicate 'checked' while others may use an X. A user may have a different manner for performing the gesture, such as quicker or more exaggerated motions." Over time, "the system may more fully identify and/or distinguish the user's gestures, thus providing more accuracy and speed for gesture recognition."

The proposal also suggests that such a profile could be "roaming in a network." In other words, the user's gesture profile could be connected to any number of potential devices (as pictured). Networked profiles, too, good be updated by the system to make "intelligent" changes to an application's default gesture data based on the users' region. As the patent writers warn, "Different cultures may use similar gestures to impart markedly different meanings."

"For instance, an American user who wishes to tell another user to 'look' or 'use his eyes' may put his index finger on his head close to the distal side of his eye," the writers continue. "However, to an Italian user, this gesture may be interpreted as a reference to the mafia." And that's always awkward when you're playing with that shady, old Italian guy.