Sony Patent Unveils Kinect-Like Device For Consoles

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

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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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