As we get ever closer to Nintendo lifting the lid on its NX hardware this year, patent applications are naturally a focus as we explore the areas of technology that the company has been exploring. Past examples that have been of interest have included a cloud-based computational device and an intriguing portable with free-form screen technology.
Another patent dug up by NeoGAF user Disorientator is actually from September 2014, when it was filed in Japan, but has only recently emerged for public view in the US patent service. There are three filings in total, each for a touch-based single-screen portable device with a key infrared component. The idea common across the filings is that the system's infrared camera can measure distance and objects, notably the shape and motions of a hand; the right hand is sensed while the left hand holds the device.
Some examples are rather basic, such as answering prompts and questions or using different signals to create emoticons on screen.
Motion is also an input that's highlighted, with easily the neatest example being the right hand 'throwing' a pitch in a basic Baseball game, and then 'catching' the return shot.
It's worth highlighting that infrared is utilised to operate the super-stable 3D effect in the New Nintendo 3DS models, tracking your face in order to dynamically adjust the image on screen. Patents such as these often contain elements that find their way into other hardware and uses, so like the other two patents highlighted in our introduction this may just have elements of what could appear in future hardware.
In any case, it's another example of Nintendo's focus on fresh approaches to controls and hardware, even if these patents won't all emerge as final products.
Thanks to all that sent this in.
That's actually really cool. Although it definitely requires a bit of imagination.
What they would need to add is maybe a powerful fan that shoots a gust of air at your hand whenever an object is coming toward it.
Even better they should have a palm gadget with a screen on it to show the object you are holding. Maybe a holograph?
So... U-force but a handheld?
I hope Nintendo go back to a basic controller.
They seem to have got it right with the Wii controller and wrong with the gamepad.
But I have recently read negitive comments about the Wii controller being quite limited.
Let's give the controllers a break for a while and concentrate on games.
Patent Hand really doesn't have much in the way of brains. He didn't even know what one plus one is, the bumbling idiot!
"Motion is also an input that's highlighted, with easily the neatest example being the right hand 'throwing' a pitch in a basic Baseball game, and then 'catching' the return shot."
Companies often make patent applications to protect a new idea. It doesn't mean that they'll ever use them.
I can't imagine how using infra-red with gestures could make a game more fun to play. Other than perhaps a few niche uses, it sounds very gimmicky.
The classic old sandlot game "Marbles" could work with this technology.
Kinda sounds like that bad old NES peripherial. What was its name...?
This could be useful for sign-language recognition.
However, I don't see any use for this tech that would justify the cost of putting it in a controller besides face-tracking.
I don't this will lead to anything. More than likely, like most companies, Nintendo are just patenting an idea on the off chance it may be needed. I bet there are thousands of patents owned by Nintendo that we don't even know about and which have never been used or ever will be used.
@Yorumi I am sure Nintendo would do a better job than Microsoft
@zool Gamepad is the best controller minus the battery life.
They're just sending out fake ones now to keep people misfooted for the NX.
@DarkmarkUnited Uh... no they didn't?
Do Nintendo not understand that Gimmicky stuff doesn't work anymore...?
And every game for the first year or so of the console's tenure will be forced to use this technology in some way, shape, or form.
Oh please no, I hope this doesn't get used. I just.. I just want a normal controller man...
@Spin It's not explained in the article, but in the baseball example, that's actually a projector throwing the image of a baseball out and displaying on your hand. The NeoGAF thread has the full patent with lots more detail. So there kind of is a holograph-y thing to show what your hand is holding. Sounds cool to me.
I hope gimmicks aren't overly relied on, that never works (DS and Wii being exceptions).
Oh please no...
Damn it Nintendo... Why are you guys always trying to recreate the wheel?
The most efficient / economic / ergonomic way to play video games is with a controller with physical buttons.
No more gimmicks please...
No idea what TIBB is. So I guess that's a no.
As long as the NX controller has gyro controls and very good battery life, I'm set.
@zool Many games are lowered in quality when using the Wii remote. No games are lowered in quality by the gamepad.
A tiny XBox Kinnect that detects hands and probably faces? I'm down if they don't shove it down developer's throats and make it a requirement for games.
Can't wait to play those amazing games.
Nintendo has listed some new games as well. Super Mario Patent, Xenoblade Copyright, Legend of Zelda: The Mark of Trade.
"...the right hand is sensed while the left hand holds the device."
Ah, the joys of being left-handed... hopefully it'll be able to sense the left hand too...
Actually, I hope this never becomes a thing! It would make things so much simpler!
@Blue_Blur I think it is just Nintendo making sure they have a patent in case they ever use the idea in a future generation. Remember those Wii Mote patent trolls? I think the idea could be cool if done right, but I do not think we will be seeing the fruits of this idea with the NX considering if rumours are to be believed it is coming in late-2016 to mid-2017. Also, Nintendo makes patents for crazy ideas all the time and never use them. Remember that ridable Wii Mote accessory?
Hmmm. . . . This comes across as potentially very gimmicky indeed.
Maybe in 10 years, but I don't think that this kind of thing will be used on NX.
Nintendo please, I am begging you, give us a standard controller...please.
Not sure how they can get it wrong with the gamepad.
I mean, it IS a normal controller- 2 clickable analog sticks, 4 shoulder buttons, 4 face buttons, gyro, NFC, infrared sensor, heck it even has a screen on it. Does everything a normal controller does- like the X1 controller or DS4 controller, and then some. I mean, when it comes to a full tool kit for developers to dig into, the gamepad is basically a one-stop shop.
A lot of stuff seems gimmicky if taken as is, but as the author mentioned, usually they just cherry pick elements from patents that work and discard the rest. I believe they stated in the article this was used for the Stable 3D in New3DS.
If that's true, then I have to be greatful for this patent because that Stable 3D is some truly amazing tech.
It looks like it could lead to a fun game or two, but I'm not sure devs in general would find it useful.
@JaxonH the screen did not catch on, that was the gamepads downfall.
Very true. Shame too, cause I really enjoyed what it brought to the table. I almost never use a Pro Controller if the gamepad screen is being used. Even for small stuff like on-the-fly inventory management in the Zelda remakes. Gonna suck going back to pausing every game for that kinda stuff next gen...
One day VR and motion gaming are seen as "the future" of gaming.
The next day, everyone cries to go back 20 years in the past with the most limiting hardware.
Make up your mind, people.
NPD results are in!
Fire Emblem Fates Birthright charted at #9. If the SKUs were combined, Fates would be at #3 on the chart. Fates sold nearly 400k (including digital). GTA V is #3 on the chart with <351k, so Fates did excellent sales wise.
Also, the PS4 version of the new Naruto game alone outsold Street Fighter V. This means Fates completely outsold Street Fighter V. I'd estimate that SFV's debut month sales weren't much better than Xenoblade X's.
@Xenocity Looks like you were completely wrong about Fates not being able to chart.
Because Microsoft Kinect did so well, Nintendo decided they should make one. Yippee. I hope none of this makes it into the NX.
@zool I'll give the controllers a break when they stop getting in between me and the game. The Wii U GamePad is a big clunky mess. It has poor battery life, has an awful low res screen that seems designed to give everything jaggies, has low quality tinny speakers, is too heavy, and is poorly designed which results in hand cramps while playing. I've gotten to the point where I just entirely skip games that are GamePad only, and only play Wii U games that offer Wiimote and Nunchuck (sometimes it works better than a regular controller, depending on the game) or Pro Controller options.
Even the PS4 controller is a mess. Useless light bar, low quality tinny speaker, awkward touch pad, more motion controls, and all of that amounts to another low battery life situation. Whenever I play PS4 games, I basically have reverted back to using a wired controller because the battery life is so bad it's not worth the effort to unplug the USB cable and then plug it back in a few hours later when the battery's already dead.
I don't even want to get started on what a piece of crap the Steam controller is. I'd be here all night.
Microsoft is the only one that put out a good main controller this generation. No screens. No awful speakers. No light bars. It's not a massive slab. It's just buttons, analog sticks, and it has great battery life. Microsoft remembered that an innovation should be made to actually improve the way we play games rather than just for the sake of being able to say you attempted to innovate, realized that there's no actual improvements to make at this point in time on the standard game controller we all know and love right now, and just left it the way it should be. The Wii U Pro Controller is a great runner up, but as I said before, it's let down by the number of games that don't allow you to use it.
(Sure, Microsoft also tried to make everyone have Kinect, but it was never a controller replacement. Just an overpriced way to talk to your game console for voice commands. And it's gone now, unlike the Wii U GamePad and DualShock 4)
Oh God please no...
@zool Pfft, "wrong"?
The game pad has every input a classic controller does.
It's not a bad controller by any stretch of the imagination; haters want you to think it is, but it's not.
@zool lol what wii controller was correct?
gamepad > wii controller any day.
I really like the gamepad, but please no more motion gimmicks.
@maukenboost The game pad has every button a traditional controller does.
Most of the games on the system don't even require you to look down at the pad much, if at all.
It's not so different from a boring controller that there's any reason to complain as much as so many are doing.
You have to use your hands?! That's like a baby's toy!
You know, Google is cooking up something similar to this. Though the tech is a radar chip instead of inferred if I understand it correctly:
Please no. Don't make me do anything with my hands. I just want to hold a normal controller.
@Ichiban You win for that reference.
@Ichiban had to like it for the back to the future reference very nice
Why do I have the feeling that this will be a gimmicky failure if implemented?
No no no no No No NO NO NO!! NO!!! NO!!!! NO!!!!! NO!!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My avatar says it all....
The PS4 version of Street Fighter V sold <210k according to NPD. Ha, I was right in my prediction of it not doing much better than Xenoblade X's debut month!
Patent seems like a Kinect on a portable device. I would be fine with that, as long as it is both an optional feature and if the price of the product is not high, depending on what the product it and has to offer.
Of course, this is a patent, so none of this may actually make it into the NX.
Fig10A & B looks to be either an obscene gesture or a punch in the face. Fitting.
how to get wiimote controls without the wiimote controller. i am looking forward to this if it comes to fruition. exciting year for nintendorks everywhere!
@DarkmarkUnited Oh, you mean the face recognition in that. Yeah, I can see why you thought of that, but it's a totally different tech.
I feel that this was patenting for patenting's sake.
But who knows, maybe they'll do something with it.
It just seems extremely impractical, especially on a handheld. Imagine how awkward it might be to hold the device with one hand and then try to keep your other hand in the camera's view. The device would have to be pretty light and the camera's view quite wide for this to be practical in any sense.
@Project_Dolphin its not that simple. Unless you like a gamble.
Nintendo gambled with the Gamepad and lost. Itd can't afford many more losses. Maybe this is not the time to gamble.
That said Nintendo have already got the NX ready for production, so their fate is already sealed.
@smashbrolink its what sells that counts, not what some people like. The Wii U sold 90,000,000 less consoles than the Wii.
@JaxonH Yeah, that's true. I was just saying that taken at face value it looks gimmicky as hell. But I guess that's the thing with patents: They often hide the real purpose in among all the facade.
Well that looks interesting!
Gimmicks, gimmicks everywhere. If they are going to include all th stuff I saw so far, they better use it wisely.
Ahh, NL, you didn't show the picture of the human outline with a mobile phone stuck to the side of the head.
It sounds cool and whatever you want,
but please NOOOOOO!
NX is beyond your imagination or expectation. Put an Amiibo near a NX and it will move and talk. Nintendo has secretly added mechanisms inside all Amiibos that are activated only through the NX.
I wouldn't exactly call it a fresh control concept. Ahem, the Power Glove.
Kinect like features which is just a terrible idea for a console. Motion controls and the ilk were a fad that have died. Please don't go backwards hoping to be "innovative". I just want a poweful system that has the features competitors do, but with that Nintendo flair. Is that too much to ask?
@zool By that logic, Justin Beiber is one of the greatest musicians on the planet.
Sales aren't all that matter.
@smashbrolink folks who buy his music may think so.
@mjc0961 Dunno about the PS4 controller and couldn't care less, but (a) the Game Pad I love it - the screen is awesome and it adds so much to games that use it correctly (surprisingly maybe, some of the best third party games like Arkham City and Mass Effect 3 use it brilliantly). And the Wii Remote Speaker was an amazing thing at the time - really brought lots of games to life, so I loved that too. Generally, I love innovation in controllers and Nintendo has always been at the forefront of that.
...great, so when does Pokemon Rock, Paper, Sissors come out?...
This sounds like a mobile game concept not a handheld controller
Power Glove 2.0/Kinect/WiiMotion....sigh
Seriously enough with gimmicks. I'm out...
Sweet! I hope this becomes the new controller!
An improvement on the gamepad I hope? The gamepad is the best standard controller I've ever used.
Noo. Please, don't do it, Nintendo.
What dastardly scheme has Master Hand dreamed up?
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