Not content with running most of the planet's computers, Microsoft now wants us body and soul, if shocking new patent applications are to be believed.

According to The Times, the software giant is developing a workplace system that uses wireless sensors to monitor every aspect of a human being from their actual productivity through to their heart rate and facial expressions.

We are the robots

The suggestion is that data from individual workers should be centrally analysed and anyone stepping outside normal parameters will set off alarm bells that will bring management running.

A data-protection expert quoted by The Times spells out the obvious: "This system involves intrusion into every single aspect of the lives of the employees. It raises very serious privacy issues."

Whether scowling at an awkward spreadsheet or becoming over-stimulated by a sneaky double espresso are ever likely to be the concern of our employers remains open to speculation - Microsoft has so far refused to comment on the application.