We recently reported on two patents which - given the hype surrounding Nintendo's next console, the Nintendo NX - have understandably triggered quite a bit of interest. The first involved clickable, shoulder-placed scroll wheels while the second was related to haptic feedback on a touchscreen.
Another patent connected to Nintendo has now surfaced, and this one has the potential to be the most interesting of the lot. United States Patent Application 20150253932 was filed in February this year but only got published this month. Nintendo's name isn't on the patent, but it's been submitted by Fumihiko Inoue, who has connections with the company and has previously filed patents on Nintendo's behalf.
The patent shows a controller with four "outward-facing linear image sensors" on each side. These can be used to sense movement and objects around the device - one application illustrated shows the controller on a table with the player tapping to the left of the device to trigger an input in the game. Another shows the controller being held and the sensors being used by sliding a finger down one side. A third illustration features an amiibo-like toy interacting with the device, although it would seem that the sensor is reading the physical object itself rather than using any kind of NFC functionality.
It doesn't end there - the sensor can also detect a pulse, which calls to mind the never-released Wii Vitality Sensor and hints at some kind of QoL capability. The device itself looks like a Wii U GamePad, with a large screen in the middle flanked by physical controls.
Could this be related to NX? Given the timing of the application, it's quite possible - but as with all patents, it's worth remembering that companies file them all the time and not all of them actually become reality.
Thanks to Benson for the tip!