Microsoft have been developing a dual-sided wireless charging pad for peripherals, that would both offer inductive charging and a compact external display for system updates and alerts. News of the project first emerged when a Microsoft patent application was spotted, but a real-world prototype - called the Microsoft uPad - dating back to at least March 2009 soon broke cover.
While inductive charging pads aren't new, the uPad does have a few tricks up its sleeve. Integrated are an accelerometer and a load detector on the charging surface, which means the gadget knows which way up it's facing and what's drawing power, tweaking its power management settings accordingly; if it's being used in one orientation to charge a device - such as the modified Wireless Laser Mouse 7000 shown here - then it will turn off the display.
Flip it the other way around, however, and the display will power up but the inductive coil be switched off. The system would obviously hook up via USB to a laptop or desktop, but we suppose Microsoft could add in some sort of wireless - dare we say Smart Display - connection for the LCD and then you could use it on a nightstand or hall table.