Patent for new PS3 transforming controller discovered: motion detection via sonar

PS3 transforming controller - Image 1This is probably the most interesting piece of patenting I’ve seen in the game industry to date. Someone’s just discovered a patent that SCEA‘s filed to the US Patent & Trademark Office, outlining their rumored “transforming” controller. Sonar tech: check! Interchangeable button faceplates: check! Multiple controller combination configurations: check! Breast detection: uh… whut?

PS3 transoforming controller patent - Image 1

Someone in the NeoGAF forums did some snooping around and eventually landed on a patent that SCEA‘s filed, outlining their rumored “transforming” controller. Before we get ahead of ourselves here, do note that not all patents become actual devices released to the market.

I’ll make this as painless as possible and keep tech jargon to a minimum. The facts are these:

  1. Just as the previous rumor said, the patent does describe a “transforming controller” that has “multiple configurations.” Just like how the Wii has its own Wiimote + Nunchuk combo, you can combine these patented PlayStation controllers in certain setups.
  2. “Motion sensing” seems to be built on sonar technology, using the PlayStation Eye‘s micropohone array and the controller’s built-in “acoustic chamber” and spherical end. Think Wii sensor bar and Wiimote.
  3. The ultrasounds emitted by the acoustic chamber, through audio delays and bouncing(?) signals, register as the relative position of the controller. Kinda like how bats use sonar to detect how soon they’ll eventually smash against a cave wall.
  4. In conjunction with the sonar tech, the PSEye can also help pin-point (i.e. triangulate) controller position, relative to your body and the screen etc. The controller also has an XYZ-axis accelerometer to register rotational movement.
  5. It also seems that faceplates for D-pad buttons and face buttons are replaceable with every controller (to accomodate right- or left-handedness?).

Much to say, this is singularly the most interesting piece of patenting I’ve seen in the game industry to date. Of course, the NeoGAF folks are already having a field day out of the new discovery, with people likening the wagglewand to either a) Yoshi’s bulbous nose, b) something they’ve seen in a porn flick, or c) as specifically seen in Fig 10, a “breast detector”.

So with all that said and done, rather than have to wade through text blocks and patenting jargon (which you can do, if you so choose, by checking out the Via source link), we’ll just have the pics do the talking here. Let the discussion commence!

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