THQ's Danny Bilson wasn't kidding when he called the Wii U controller the "Swiss army knife of video game controllers." Touch screen, game streaming, motion control and near-field communication technology is all well and good, but the latest rumour points to the pad controlling more than just the Wii U console.

A filed patent points to Wii U as a "universal remote" capable of controlling other devices in the home. As the patent puts its:

This invention relates generally to remote control systems and, more particularly, to a system and method for facilitating the set up and configuration of a portable device, e.g., a smart device which may incorporate universal remote control functionality, to command operation of one or more types of remotely controllable appliances of one or more manufacturers. Exemplary smart devices include but are not limited to Apple's "iPhone` and "iPad," Google's "Android" platform, Nintendo's "Wii U" controller, Blackberry's "Torch" or "PlayBook," etc. Exemplary types of appliances include, but are not limited to televisions, digital video disc players (DVDs), cable or satellite set top boxes (STBs), digital video recorders (DVRs), audio video (AV) receivers, thermostats, game consoles, lighting systems, etc.

Obviously the Wii U controller will interact with a games console, but what else could it work with? One of the system's big selling points is the ability to play Wii U games on your touch screen while someone else uses the TV. If the controller acts as a TV remote, we could be entering a golden age of channel-changing mischief.

It's worth stressing that this patent is not filed by Nintendo, so doesn't necessarily reflect what Wii U will do. It's an interesting possibility, though. What do you make of it?