Ah, patents, the source of much intrigue and occasional hand-wringing. Occasionally they're also rather entertaining, and if a recently discovered U-shaped Nintendo patent became an actual product we'd be more than happy to make fun of it while admiring its ingenuity.
You can see it below, and it's actually a controller intended to assist with exercises and physical activities - the patent was filed in Japan in October 2014, Western countries on 18th September 2015 and shared with the public on 21st April this year.
The U shape naturally makes it look like an accessory for the Wii U, though that could be a coincidence. It has gyroscopic capabilities and even load sensors, so you can push and pull the bars closer and further apart.
A training implement (10) comprises a hollow body (12) formed from an aluminum alloy. The body is configured from two grips (12a) provided facing each other across a space, and a connecting section (12b) connecting the two grips. A load sensor (16) is disposed in the connecting section inside the body. The load sensor is a load cell, the strain gauge is bonded on the inside of the body, and the portion of the body to which the strain gauge is bonded functions as a strain element. Consequently, when a user applies force so as to bring the two grips towards each other or applies force so as to separate the two grips, the load thereof is detected by the load sensor.
One drawing even shows a grip accessory to shake up the form of the controller, with exercises that could help improve grip strength (we suppose).
It does seem like a rather hi-tech version of crummy exercise gadgets found on TV shopping channels, but in reality is a relatively complex piece of kit, and it could tie in with related software.
Is it a potential next step for the Wii Fit franchise, perhaps in the NX generation, or just a neat idea that the company decided to patent to play it safe? In either case, it's an intriguing filing.
We're not sure anyone would buy it, though...