Japanese electronics giant, Sony, has devised a method to turn regular objects into game controllers. The company has filed a patent, first spotted by GamesIndustry.biz, which turns a banana into a controller. “The system comprises an input unit operable to obtain images of a passive non-luminous object being held by a user as a video games controller. The system also comprises an object detector and object pose detector for detecting the object and its respective pose in the obtained images,” the patent application reads.
The system detailed in the patent seems to use a camera to overlay virtual buttons on these objects, depending on the user’s muscle memory in a way. But that would also mean that it applies to gamers who are used to controllers, something that may limit the number of users who find such a system useful.
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The rationale for the system seems to be to reduce entry barriers for gaming devices. The patent says that “technical complexity” associated with current gaming peripherals can be a barrier to entry often, “in terms of players accessing such equipment”. “Most video game consoles come with at least one controller and for some players, this may be the only controller in their possession. As will be appreciated, a limited number of peripherals may limit a player’s ability to access all of a video game’s features (e.g. multiplayer, VR, etc.). Even if a player is in possession of multiple peripherals, each of these may need to be charged regularly in order to be usable,” the patent says.
While that seems like a good enough rationale, this could also help companies reduce entry barriers for newer technologies like virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR). While gaming consoles still have a big market, companies like Sony haven’t been able to bring prices of VR and MR headsets down to really affordable levels just yet. More accessible controllers would definitely be welcome.