News Article

3DS Patent Covers Vibrating Stylus, New Kinds of Control

Posted by James Newton

The plot thickens

Nintendo's filed a patent for a new kind of input on 3DS — one that requires no physical contact with the console at all.

The application uses the 3DS console's inner-facing camera along with a stylus to manipulate 3D images on the top screen without the need for buttons, touch screen or moving the console.

The inward-facing camera detects a 'marker' applied to the end of a stylus. The 3DS can calculate the marker's position in 3D space based on its size and position, using that information to manipulate an item on the top screen. By moving the stylus further away, the object could appear to 'come out' of the screen; move the stylus nearer and the object would appear to move deeper into the 3D space.

It wouldn't be limited to the inner camera either — the patent shows you could use the same stylus-marker combination to move items behind the machine, rather like moving the cards around in the system's existing Augmented Reality software only with far more flexibility.

The patent also refers to a new kind of stylus with a vibration function, giving you physical feedback when you interact with the virtual items, as well as a marker allowing it to be tracked by the 3DS camera. You wouldn't need this stylus though — the patent also shows the system works if you put the marker on your finger.

This isn't the first time Nintendo's experimented with camera-based motion control in a portable console — DSiWare has several titles available, from WarioWare Snapped! to Looksley's Line Up — but this is far more advanced. Being able to manipulate graphics on the top screen using just the stylus's position certainly sounds good, and we can see it being used well in The Legend of Zelda or Professor Layton.

Like the rest of Nintendo's recent patents this is just a concept for now, but what do you make of it? Could it change the way you play games or does it sound a little far-fetched to you?

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User Comments (68)

bro2dragons

#2

bro2dragons said:

Hmm... I'm iffy on the applications... but why not?

Also, losing that little ball "marker" could be an issue.

Sam_Loser2

#4

Sam_Loser2 said:

Nintendo keeps filling patents for all this awesome advanced crap that I didn't know was even possible. I want to use some of it! This is freakin' cool, next system update PLEASE!

eviLaTtenDant

#6

eviLaTtenDant said:

Very interesting. Always been a fan of rumble.
Only shame is that the marker won't work in the dark most likely. Technology can't advance fast enough.

metafaniel

#8

metafaniel said:

This is really awesome wow wow wow incredible!!!!!!!! I'm just...wow!!
HOWEVER I think the developers will lazy enough to not support this, or at least not in a lot of games sadly...

abINC4L

#9

abINC4L said:

Could be pretty damn awesome if implemented correctly and that's basically what it all boils down to, how well any of these unique features work.

TKOWL

#13

TKOWL said:

Hopefully this deviates from just being another stupid gimmick. This looks really, REALLY interesting.

FonistofCruxis

#15

FonistofCruxis said:

Wow, this sounds awesome, I hope they do make use of this. It would be really interesting to see how it could be used.

LittleIrves

#17

LittleIrves said:

Cool.
Is it a problem that all these patents are freely available and reported on? Wouldn't they want to keep ideas like this under wraps? I know most are concepts that may or may not see the light of day, but it seems like nothing is ever truly hidden anymore from the internet's all-seeing eye....

theblackdragonAdmin

#18

theblackdragon said:

the idea of 3D images being reinforced with force feedback really sounds interesting! i would totally give this peripheral a try.

@LittleIrves: These patents are made publicly available already. There's no sense in the news media holding back on a story in an attempt to hide or downplay what the competition likely already knows about. :3

Dashtag

#21

Dashtag said:

Sounds cool, but...
What if you drop your sylus? Or itch? Or reach for something?

If they find a way to do it well, maybe.

Hokori

#23

Hokori said:

I was just thinking of how Nintendo could make ALL there games portable in the future, and wii sports came to mind as to, HOW? Maybe this will work, because I'd like to play all Nintendos games on the go but the wii would be hard to make portable. It would be fun to have my 3DS play every game from Ball to Pikmin 3 and beyond.

TheRegginator

#26

TheRegginator said:

It sounds like Nintendo is incorporating the same kind idea of behind the PSMove into the 3DS. Nice.

Hokori

#30

Hokori said:

Also it would be cool to be able to play all the VC games from my wii to my 3DS, I'd like to play OOT on the go with out it being the 3D remake... Imagine all your VC games on the go even a game like sin and punishment

Mason

#31

Mason said:

This is actually what I expected a 'final surprise' of 3DS to be before launch, the ability to move the stylus in front of the console to essentially double the number of touch screens while retaining a 3D screen. Interesting...

Geonjaha

#32

Geonjaha said:

Seems like a hint towards a 3DS redesign - and one that might be announced in a few days - although I hope not.

ThumperUK

#34

ThumperUK said:

@Geonjaha - A patent application does not hint at any imminent redesign. Most patents are filed to stop others copying an idea which is still in early development, many patents are not ever be used or released. Think 'Vitality Sensor' !!

Also, the new stylus could well just be packaged with a new game release and work with existing 3DS machines - that is much more likely the outcome of this patent.

Supremeist

#38

Supremeist said:

Mhm, seems great but strangely different news coming from Ninty on this one. The top screen just doesn't seem like It would ever be touchy.

Emaan

#39

Emaan said:

This sounds super rad. Oh Nintendo, you and your endless innovations ;)

1takauchiha

#41

1takauchiha said:

As long as they don't make an entirely new 3DS, then I suppose it's ok. I would HATE if I spent so much on the 3DS only for it to be replaced by something better so very soon.

Henmii

#43

Henmii said:

Sounds cool! I guess the stylus only vibrates when it is not placed on the touchscreen, otherwise the touchscreen could get damaged!

I think this isn't the first time Nintendo patented a vibrating stylus.

Captain_Hookey

#44

Captain_Hookey said:

i heard satoru iwata say that the touch screen and 3D don't mix well together. it wouldn't work. i heard that at like a e3 conferance or something like that. it doesn't seem possible if the big man says it aint possible

ajcismo

#45

ajcismo said:

It seems to be a sort of portable version of the Wii remote, or thats at least my take on it. What an interesting addition to the tech, and something that will no doubt be copied (and likely improved upon) by the Sonys and Apples of the world. Sure adds a new twist on sports and fps games. I could see a really neat way to use it in puzzlers and board games too... Hell, I could see a simple "house of cards"-esque game being created using the 3D stylus feature.

lanabanana

#47

lanabanana said:

Zomg ! That's so cool!!! lol What if we could "pull" the ghosts out of the screen on Luigi's Mansion 2?! Maybe that's why it hasn't been released yet... lol :D

BulbasaurusRex

#48

BulbasaurusRex said:

Wow, real world technology is actually moving towards those hologram computer interfaces in the Iron Man movies. Maybe we'll actually get those self-lacing sneakers by 2015 (although I wouldn't hold my breath over those personal hoverboards and flying cars).

Wolfenstein83

#52

Wolfenstein83 said:

Seriously, a vibrating stylus?
Why the heck would I want one of those?
I can probly come up with some dirty jokes about it.
Seriously though, what if it's a shooter, and the thing is vibrating, and I am aiming all over the place?
Neat idea, but it doesn't sound practical to me.

Nintendude789

#53

Nintendude789 said:

That will be cool! But do you think it will still work at dark? Because I don't think so, cause the cameras needs to see the marker. And does the new stylus needs BATTERIES?.... I hate spending hundreds of dollars a year on BATTERIES. :( But still, Nintendo has OUTSTANDING technology! Way better than Sony and Microsoft! XD

EvisceratorX

#56

EvisceratorX said:

I'd guess that they'd have thought of playing in the dark because the 3DS cameras are admittedly kinda low quality. I think it'll work off of infrared or heat sensitivity or something like that. Perhaps it works like the wii remote! :)

Laethnes

#58

Laethnes said:

Wait, do I see a possibility of new The Worlds Ends With You which does not destroy touch screen? I like it :3.
My old NDS touch screen is now highly inaccurate and cannot be calibrated, all because of TWETY (and Wario Ware) -.-; ...

Batteries in stylus does not sound nice to be, too, but tracking stylus with camera - that means that it wouldn't be 2D motion (like with PC mouse or classic touch screen) but 3D one (like with Wii), which sounds cool.

Btw. although I don't own Kid Icarus, I think that that could make aiming much, much better and controls would be on another level. With update, of course :3.

So I really hope this will be released soon and not, like, after 10 years (nor never).

onlyaman

#60

onlyaman said:

FINALLY! One of the biggest limitations of the 3DS has been the inability to touch 3D objects on the top screen. Force Feedback in the stylus is a brilliant touch that should help those objects feel real.

Marioman64

#62

Marioman64 said:

OMG i've already been petting things in my 3ds top screen cuz im pro at seeing powerful 3D, and now they're going to make it do something!!! i agree with the first poster lolomgwtfdairyqueenlolomgbbtheq

Drawdler

#66

Drawdler said:

It's funny, because when I first played Pokemon Diamond, I wished the top screen was touch and you would tap it to make your character move to a spot or change the camera in a battle, and now it could actually happen. :P I'm guessing if they do it though it'll be in either a few games only or in the next generation.

UnseatingKDawg

#67

UnseatingKDawg said:

OK, now I'm really hoping that rumor of a Sonic Adventure title coming to the 3DS is true. That would really work for Chao raising.

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