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Patents unearthed by sleuthing from user Rösti on Neogaf have revealed Sony Corporation’s interest in developing a glove-based controller technology. Beating out the three year gap between release of the Move and the Wii, this marks the longest amount of time it has taken for anyone to copy Nintendo, at a total of 27 years too slow.

The three patents filed are titled Thumb Controller, Glove Interface Object, and  “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR PROVIDING FEEDBACK TO A USER WHILE INTERACTING WITH CONTENT”.  We must hasten to mention that patents are not quite a declaration of intent to develop any kind of technology, but the obvious conclusions and speculation are unavoidable.

These patents all relate to control technology, and are themed around gloves and hand-based apparatuses. Even if they never end up developing such a product, there is at least some stock being put into the concept by a major corporation.

pg-1 Is It So Bad? Sony Patents Glove Controller

Interestingly, while all the applications were filed by Sony, each came from a separate inventors. This could suggest some level of delegation on a larger project, and a cursory examination of the series of illustrations, abstracts, and descriptions seems to draw a cohesive whole. Such a controller would have a thumb-based cursor for minute controls, using the palm and other fingers as a trackpad-like surface. Hand signs like the classic time-out T would be interpreted as a shortcut for “pause”.

pg2 Is It So Bad? Sony Patents Glove Controller

The glove could also give haptic feedback, that is, put pressure on your hand, in response to data or virtual objects. Of course, it would track the position, pose, and pressure of the wearer’s hand, and send that data into a game or other virtual space, as the setup is meant to work with a VR headset like the Oculus Rift. Most likely, this would end up being Sony’s proprietary headset, the PlayStation VR, due to be given more information in March. It also apparently has sweet lights on the back, and they wanted to make sure the patent reflected that.

The application laid out several potential uses, somewhat redundantly:

[0095] The display may be the display of a head mounted display (HMD), a display of a second screen, a display of a portable device, a computer display, a display panel, a display of a remotely connected users (e.g., whom may be viewing content or sharing in an interactive experience), or the like. In some embodiments, the captured positions of the user’s hand, the pressures sensed, the fingers touched, and/or the hand/finger gestures are used to interact in a video game, in a virtual world scene, a shared virtual space, a video game character, a character that is an extension of the real-world user, or simply provide a way of touching, holding, playing, interfacing or contacting virtual objects shown on a display screen or objects associated with documents, text, images, and the like.

So, be it The Wizard or Minority Report, keep an eye on Sony in the scramble to adapt consumer electronics to the burgeoning virtual age.

Gene Marsh

Gene is a student of biology and philosophy, who enjoys PC games, technical advancements, applied science, and the internet. Pester & harass him @GeneMildest

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