News Article

Nintendo Patented an "Illumination Device" for Gaming Use

Posted by Tim Latshaw

A little mood lighting, perhaps?

Nintendo has proven itself a company willing to buck standard conventions and try out new concepts. Some ideas, such as dual screens and motion controls, become a solid entry into gaming culture. Others may never leave the drawing board.

A Nintendo patent that was filed in September 2010 and widely spotted today appears to show one such idea: an illumination system that was meant to interact with various impulses during play, either triggered by a game or other means, to project light in certain colours or arrays. According to the document, which used the Wii in its drawings, this device seemed intended to provide a surrounding ambience around the TV:

The position and direction in which to install the illumination device are optional. In the present embodiment, however, the illumination device is assumed to illuminate a wall (a house wall or a curtain) behind the television with visible light, so that the user sees the light on the wall. Therefore, the illumination device is preferably installed so as to emit visible light rearward of the television. Also, in FIG. 1, the illumination device is installed on the marker device. In another embodiment, the illumination device may be installed directly on the television or may be installed behind the television on a stand having the television mounted thereon. Alternatively, the illumination device may have provided therewith a member capable of hanging the illumination device at the back of the television.

It doesn't seem like a device that would forever change the way we see games, but the effects of light and colour should not be underestimated. Imagine how different colours could lend to the atmosphere of someone practising yoga on Wii Fit or facing an anxious moment in Resident Evil 4, for example. At the very least it would have blown the Wii's notification light out of the water.

Would a device like this light up your interest, or is this an idea better left in the dark ages? Sound off in the comments below.


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User Comments (49)



10000mario said:

This reminds me of a YouTube video with someone who rigged up a projector with their game console to do a lot of really cool effects.



unrandomsam said:

Wonder if it will be used for anything. Sega got one to do with a streaming type device that connects to a TV in 2009.



Phantom_R said:

For it to really work, you'd have to be playing in a dark room. That's not really healthy or comfortable. At least Nintendo's still trying new things, even if they don't always work.



Tony_342 said:

Oh, yeah, I remember seeing this a few years ago. It seems like a neat idea, but I didn't think it would ever come to fruition. I doubt very many people would be interested in buying it. If they could have built it into the sensor bar, that might have been pretty neat - obviously with the option to disable it, if you wish.



rellik2552 said:

if it was patented in 2010 they could be evolving it to be some kind of projector that not only projects colors but actual images like landscapes..etc the possibilities are there for something wonderful you know nintendo always comes out of left field and catches everyone off guard with their products



10000mario said:

Imagine snow falling around your tv while playing a icy level of a Mario game, or the fireworks after you reach the end of a level booming on your wall.



aaronsullivan said:

@NaturalGus IllumaRoom uses a projector and is much more impressive. I think Microsoft previously showed something close to this particular patent (foggy on that though) and I know there were some TVs that did this with simply colors.



Jayvir said:

It would be interesting if they actually tied it into a motion bar so you didn't have a hunk of plastic that really didn't need to be used. Ambient light is kinda cool, but I get the feeling that it really wouldn't be used at all. I can't imagine any situation where you'd absolutely HAVE to have it.



kyuubikid213 said:

If it was built in, I'd be interested to see how any company could use it. What initially comes to mind is the PS4's title Killzone Shadow Fall that changes the "Move bar"'s color when the player takes damage.



DinoFett said:

Atari Jaguar CD had a light show on screen with any music CD, In day's of old.



TheRealThanos said:

Sounds more like Philips Ambilight to me. These are TV's that, to name but one example, emit green light from the back panel when you are watching sports games that are played on a field such as American football, soccer, cricket, baseball and so on. In other instances the light tries to match the colors on screen as closely as possible in films and other programs. No intricate patterns are displayed, just a single color or combination of colors:



skywake said:

@TheRealThanos I was thinking the same thing.

The difference would be that you'd be able to have lights that aren't the same as what's on the screen. Like if in something along the lines of the "emergency exit" section of Super Metroid you had a throbbing red glow behind the TV. Or as you lose light in Zelda the light goes from Green to yellow to red. Or just flashes behind the screen in a storm sequence.

Lots of options.... but will probably never happen.......



3dcaleb said:

i can think of a few really cool things this could be used for. a red pulsing heartbeat when your scared or dying in a resident evil or dead space type situation. or better yet a nice big splash of red (or blue/green if its an alien) blood coming out the back of your tv when you shoot or slice something. but just being able to change the color around your tv would still be cool. and as for the new QOL thing, who knows, maybe a meditation/ biofeedback accessory?



DerpSandwich said:

I really liked the stuff I saw on Microsoft's Illumiroom, so this is right up my alley. Some might find it gimmicky, but I'm all about immersion and atmosphere, so I think it would be really awesome. It's almost like extending the edges of your TV to the edges of your vision.



Pixelrobin said:

And as the choir sung and the lights danced with joy, He lifted the sword from the chest.



Liquid_ice said:

It's a clever concept, but I'm not sure if it would work properly. This sort of gadget would most definitely be only an accessory, so it wouldn't maybe get enough support from developers.



McHaggis said:

Microsoft took this a lot further with the IllumiRoom, but it would presently be too expensive for the average consumer. It looks like Nintendo got their patent in first, too, but being a peripheral that stands on top of the TV and emits colours, I don't think Microsoft's would be infringing.



andreoni79 said:

I want a SmelliRoom: smell of grass/snow/lava when I play Monster Hunter, smell of rotten flesh with ZombiU, smell of bananas with DK...



Judgedean said:

Had a Philips Ambilight TV that did this but was annoying after about 5 mins and was a distraction in the end. Ask anyAmblight owners and most will say the same. Only game that was prefect for it was DJ Hero - was great for that.



ToastyYogurt said:

Man, I would have loved this. Couple it with a few games with a rave atmosphere (nothing on the Wii comes to mind, but if this came out I'm sure there would have been some) and this might have been the best thing ever.



TheRealThanos said:

@skywake Sounds interesting. Ambilight is all about immersion and in the right setting (for both the game and the environment in the room the TV is in) color changes can really add to the experience. A friend of mine still has one of the older Ambilight TV's and it works great.
@Vriess You don't read through comments before posting, do you?



DarkKirby said:

Until we actually get projected holograms I don't think a device that shoots light out to project things will really make a difference.



TheRealThanos said:

@DarkKirby if it is anything like the Philips Ambilight it doesn't "shoot light" but emits light in a very subtle manner and I can assure you from personal experience that it works. If the TV set is in the right spot (flat against a wall, not in a corner or diagonally placed) your whole wall gets colored and because your focus will be on the program you're watching, having the part of the image that is out of your direct view (the wall being in the corners of your eyes aka your peripheral view) colored in the same way will somehow make your whole living room part of the TV, if you know what I mean. In sports it is almost like the TV set is placed right there on the field because practically half your living room will be green. You can always check the link I posted earlier. Or watch this vid...



TheRealThanos said:

@Vriess No need for name calling, it was just a bit of innocent fun, hence the smiley. But seriously: yes I actually do read all comments before I post. It makes it easier not to double post or not to respond to something that has already been responded to.

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