Nintendo's made it clear for many months that it is still looking at ways to expand its business outside of video games. We haven't seen any recent firm updates on the 'Quality of Life' initiative, but it seems the company is exploring options to produce products with potential medical or scientific uses.

In May the company filed a patent application (published this week) for a 'passive walking device' - in other words robotic legs that can sustain themselves. Below is the English description which says, in technical jargon, that they're functioning walking legs.

Passive Walking Device.png

The passive walking device (100) according to an embodiment is provided with a hip section (1), a first leg (21), a second leg (22), and a crank mechanism (3) comprising a first leg crank part (31), a second leg crank part (34), a crank shaft (33), a first leg connecting section (32), and a second leg connecting section (35). When the first leg (21) contacts a walking surface (GR) and moves from front to back relative to the hip section (1): the first leg connecting section (32) rotates the first leg crank part (31); the first leg crank part (31) rotates the second leg crank part (34) via the crank shaft (33); and the second leg crank part (34) moves the second leg (22) from the back to the front relative to the hip section (1) via the second leg connecting section (35).

Though some have jokingly referred to potential gaming applications for this, in reality it's technology that is expensive but potentially valuable in medical and robotic fields. It's not a new concept, but it's fascinating that Nintendo is interested enough in this area that it's produced a patent application.

It'll be intriguing to see if anything comes from this - just don't expect it to lead to LEGS on the New Nintendo Switch XL.