Some of Nintendo's most intriguing ideas can be found in patents; indeed it's through filings that potential glimpses at the NX have been seen. We don't think this particular patent is NX related, as such, but it's an indication of Nintendo's ongoing interest in adopting and improving existing technology.

The patent is for a projector that displays a flat image on uneven surfaces. It's not the first time that Nintendo has filed patents in this area. In 2014 there was a patent for an illumination device, and in gaming terms one more recent idea was for a gadget that detects objects and has projection capabilities. This latest filing was submitted on 3rd February this year and published on 22nd September; much of it is in Japanese, but the following abstract and demonstration images show it off clearly.

Nintendo projector2.jpg

The present invention implements a projection system which appropriately corrects geometric distortion of a projected image even when an object to be projected has an arbitrary three-dimensional shape and a user's point of view is not fixed. A projection unit (3) of a projector device 100 projects a first adjustment test image. A three-dimensional shape measurement unit (4) measures a three-dimensional shape of the object to be projected. An image capturing device (200) captures the first adjustment test image projected by the projection unit (3), and acquires a first adjustment captured image. A projected image adjustment unit (1) executes: (1) first adjustment processing for, on the basis of the first adjustment captured image acquired by the image capturing device (200), correcting the image such that geometric image distortion is reduced at an image capturing point at which the first adjustment captured image was captured; and (2) second adjustment processing for, on the basis of a state when the image adjusted by the first adjustment processing was projected by the projection unit (3), correcting the image such that geometric image distortion is reduced.

Nintendo projector.png

In other words, a projector is used along with a second box that helps to make calculations of the target surface, and the image is adjusted to look flat.

It's worth noting that patenting ideas doesn't always mean there'll be an equivalent product that goes on sale. In this case it's unlikely to lead to a mainstream product any time soon, simply due to the fact that quality 'standard' projectors still cost hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. An idea like this could, if manufactured in decent numbers, be a potential success for Nintendo in the commercial sector. In addition, it's fun to see the technology used to show a bit of Wii Fit on a wall.

In any case, it's a simple idea that no doubt needs some clever technology to make it work, which is typical Nintendo. Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

[source, via]