Sony Patent Unveils Kinect-Like Device For Consoles

By Spencer . November 15, 2010 . 2:19pm

image Sony Computer Entertainment America may have a Kinect rival. Not a controller-free environment, but a new device that tracks the location of players.


The news comes from a patent application filed in the United States by SCEA, which shows this controller. It’s equipped with a gyroscope, accelerometer, magnometer, and most interestingly an ultrasonic transmitter. The controller uses this to communicate with another device to determine the location of the controller and player through echolocation.


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The controller is half of the gizmo. Users also place this device on the floor and it communicates with a console via radio signals.


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Sony equipped the floor sensor with a motion detector, cameras, sound processor, and another ultrasonic processor. Image detection lets it know where players are and if it has been moved. Like the PlayStation Move controller, it has LEDs on top that provide visual feedback for in-game events and when your batteries are low. An onboard sound processor and microphone are present for voice control.


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Here’s an example of how the device works. Figure 4 shows three players using the new controllers and the floor station identifying their location through echolocation. The arrow shows how the floor station connects to the console wirelessly. Figure 5 demonstrates how the wide angle cameras can determine depth.


This figure shows an example skateboarding game and the corresponding data captured by the base station. The directions for M1 show how a player can move the skateboarding avatar. Moving the controller up makes the character jump in game.



This figure shows a much more complex online game where multiple players are using the device and playing online. All players send data to an online server, which analyzes it through a server processing algorithm. Once in game space, players can talk to each other in real-time while a speech to text program displays the conversation on screen. In the example, users in scene A and B are talking to each other. C is an observer and pulls up a buddy list who sees users D & E. All users have their own consoles and spaces to play in.


Since all we have is a patent, it’s unclear if Sony has plans to release this for PlayStation 3, a future console or if its going to fade away in the archives. But, if it did exist what would you like to see Sony do with it?

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  • oh man i love sony!! x’D

  • d19xx

    – PSP Go, a pathetic attempt to compete with the iPhone/Pod in terms of digital distribution.
    – Move, a sad sad attempt to compete with the Wii in terms of motion control.

    Now this…. GO SONY!

    • MemeticRichard

      Yeah, except the response ratio of the Move to the Wii is like, 7:2.

      :/ Try harder.

      • d19xx

        I’m referring to sales and reception. Missing the point much?

        • Move is but two months old. Reviews I’ve read don’t seem to have called it “sad”. Maybe you were just talking about yourself?

        • MisterNiwa

          Move sold pretty well since it’s release. It is only an option not something forced on you.

          Try harder.

        • …the Move is barely 2 months old and you’re comparing sales?

        • mikedo2007

          Actually, the Move sold so well in US about 1 million units, I hardly call it a bad sales. I also recall the Move sold 1.5 million units in Europe. Combine and it’ll become 2.5 million unit sold. So how’s that a bad sale.

      • Joanna

        You know. I’m curious how all those die-hard “all motion controls suck” individuals are now rationalizing their like of Move. It’s fine if you think Move is better than Wii mote and that’s why you support it. I’ve never tried Move (one motion controlling console is enough for me) so I can’t say whether one is better than the other, but I don’t doubt that Move is at least as good as Motion+ Wii mote. What I’m finding hilarious is that there were so many Nintendo haters that were dissing motion controls, in principal, and now motion controls are all fine and peachy in their eyes. Oh, I have to love Sony and Microsoft for making these people eat their words.

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    I always enjoy looking at these. Sony patents LOTS of ultra-bizarre looking tech and widgets that only sometimes make it to reality. Those convoluted diagrams are surreal. Coupled with an idea of how it works, it also looks:a.) Unintentionally hilarious b.) Like something even dolphins can game withc.) Like something out of a campy 1950’s Sci-Fi movied.) Capable of frying my brains out after 10 minutes

  • joesz

    This is some very good news but seriously why can’t people be nice to each other.

  • AdamBoy64

    I thought I saw this (or something very similiar) as one of the PS Move prototypes.. a long time back.

    I think Sony already have a Kinect Rival – called Move. Works really well too.

    • Testsubject909

      Actually, wouldn’t the rival to the Kinect be the Eyetoy? The Move supplements the Eyetoy and combines certain capabilities of the Kinect with an updated and upgraded version of the Wiimote.

      I mean. The Eyetoy is capable of some joint tracking and head tracking as well as reading your body’s outline. And many of the games you see on the Kinect have been done on the Eyetoy (save for Dance Central, and yet still, I ponder the possibility that Dance Central could work on the Eyetoy alone.)

      Though yes, tech wise, you do require the Move to boost up it’s outdated hardware in comparison to the downgraded Natal called Kinect.

  • GamerKT

    Super EyeToy?

  • I didn’t read the article at all but I’ve read interviews from a number of Sony execs including Shuhei Yoshida from the last couple months.

    Apparently SCE tried experimenting with the same 3D camera tech that Kinect uses but ultimately they felt it wasn’t where things were going, so it was scrapped.

    So I’m confident whatever is up there will never see the light of day. Like a lot of the other patents they file for.

    • Confused-chan

      @[email protected]

      “I didn’t read the article all”

      @[email protected]

      • Haha your comment with your avatar are just a hilarious combo

      • DeisticBrace

        This gimmick won’t get old at all.

      • Code

        rarrr, save me Confused-chan!

  • Microsoft is dead xD

  • MisterNiwa

    The interesting thing about this is that it is not a camera tracking you it is a SENSOR tracking you, which would be the best solution to the 2d barrier of Kinect.

    With this thing you could simply use a navigator controller to move or just do as if you are moving on spot while still be able to interact with the game with your whole body.


  • mikedo2007

    We already have it, it’s called the Playstation Eye and there’s already a kinect-like game coming to the PS3. It’s called Kung Fu Live. Also the PS Move is already good enough. We don’t need to outdo the Kinect.

  • Aoshi00

    so much fanboy talk.. does one need to out do each other? I got both Move and Kinect, both of them exceeded my expectation and I think they’re both fun in their own right, hopefully w/ more good games to come. Personally I find using no accessories to be really convenient.Move’s Sports Champions is not bad, playing Heavy Rain w/ the new Move control scheme is cool. And I like Kinect Sports and Adventures, just ordered Dance Central and Fitness, my friends said they’re really fun, really make you break a sweat, good exercises for the couch potatoes, since I’m too lazy to go to the gym on weekdays sometimes :)I haven’t played Eye Pet yet, but I want to try Kinectimals more, heard it’s quite a fun pet sim, especially for kids. And later Move would have Killzone 3 and Dead Space Extraction, looking forward to Kinect games from Jpn too (I want that brain training w/ body game). I think both technology have different potential and application. Kinect’s voice recognition is kind of cool too, right now it’s only for zune and last fm, hopefully they would add that to Netflix soon.

    Though I would say I never cared much about Wii’s half respsonsive motion control even if they did it first, for me it mostly hampered my gameplay experience rather than enhancing them like NMH for example. And I haven’t played much w/ motion plus yet (got Wii Sports Resort, Red Steel 2, and Zangeki no Reginleiv sitting somewhere..)

    • Ereek

      Agreed. There’s no need to fanboy over everything.

      My mom isn’t really a gamer (nor do I live with her, but that’s not really the point) but she wants Kinect due to all of the advertising she saw on Discovery Channel. I was thinking about getting it for her for Christmas and letting her borrow my 360. Any recommendations?

      I’m less interested in the Move and Kinect myself, but for me what’s exciting is where technology will go from here. I can’t be the only one who played in those VR machines where you put the helmet on and walked around in them while playing the game when I was younger. I was absolutely horrible at the games, though!
      . . .Do they still have those?

      • Aoshi00

        yea, I’m thinking this is the first step into the future too, maybe it’s not that sophisticated at this point, but you got to start somewhere.. like using voice to activate things or swiping across the screen like Minority Report, or like those VR fighting games in “The Island”, or the virtual sex thing in Demolition man (Sandra Bullock and Stallone) lol.Hm.. Kinect Adventures is bundled w/ it, it’s fun but probably won’t last long, guess that’s why it’s free.. I suppose Kinect Sports would be fun for both single and multiplayer (it’s kind of like Wii sports w/o the remotes and balance board), not sure if your mom has a soft spot for animals, lots of sites rated Kinectimals highly, there’s actually a story as you raise the tiger. I think Fitness would be nice too to keep yourself in shape and healthy, it’s like a personal trainer w/o paying a fortune, it has achievement for burning a certain number of calories, so it’s good to have a goal. I’m getting Dance Central since that seems to really take advantage of Kinect, hopefully learn to bust a move or two since I don’t know how to dance, I’m like Elaine from Seinfeld or something lol.. The thing w/ Kinect is it’s really accessible to casual players and family, it makes you move a lot too, so people could have fun and a nice workout at the same time.I was doubtful about both at first, I just thought I would give them a try and find myself enjoying them, both respond better than I thought. But I have to say Kinect feels more refreshing to me, like the first time I played Wii Sports, Move for now feels like Wii but more responsive closer to 1:1.

      • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

        I always thought that VR helmets potentially offered more immersion than doing jumping around in front of a TV screen, because the screen is intimately enclosed and you can move your head around. The biggest problem with ANY VR/motion control for me though is walking; how do you implement virtual walking in the form of a physical imitation without needing to resort to a stick or auto-walk? Walking in place is awkward; the best I can think of is some all-directional treadmill-trackpad that allows you to walk at your own pace without actually going anywhere.

        • Guest

          Which will cause major accidents

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            Good thing I’m not a console designer. :D…But I really would like to move beyond the joystick if were are to do further VR.

            EDIT: I meant moving beyond the joystick for walking, that is.

  • Fig 3.B

    Looks kind of like a… y’know.. a theremin… Is this the SONY Theremin!? THERMINS COMFIRMED FOR ROCK BAND 4 PS3 VERSION.

  • hush404

    Oh noe… the whales and dolphins are going to be so fucking confused! ;)

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