Earlier this month the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Microsoft that reveals a next-generation 3D gesture recognition system that doesn't require multitouch commands. The new in-air gesture system is designed to work with both traditional smart devices such as tablets, watches and smartphones while being able to work with future devices like kitchen appliances with or without a display. The system will be able to recognize finger and also larger two-arm gestures when working with whiteboards and beyond. Some applications will work with a 3D camera system while others not. Microsoft has been working on such systems for some time now as we noted in our January 2015 report here. In the big picture, a 3D gesture system will just be one of many new Natural User Interfaces that we'll all be using in the future. Microsoft's Intelligent Assistant known as 'Cortana,' for instance, now works with Windows 10 based desktops and notebooks which puts it ahead of Apple's use of Siri that is primarily restricted to iOS. Microsoft needs to deliver high-end next-gen solutions such as noted in today's report if they're ever to win back mind share that they lost to Apple ever since the rise of the iPhone. Today's invention is likely beyond a mere idea, as they have extensive experience with both large touch display systems via PixelSense and distant-air-gesturing via Kinect's 3D scanning. For those interested in knowing what Apple's completion is working on in secret, then check out the full Patently Mobile report here.