Today we are talking about 5 interesting patents, among the many filed, that Nintendo has not yet used in any practical application.
It is certainly not new that the Nintendo patentswhen these are disclosed. Sometimes they foresaw important applications, other times they didn’t have any; recently we talked about three that could – and according to the trailer should – make up part of the skeleton of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (still without an official title, despite the release scheduled for spring 2023).
Today instead we talk to you about 5 interesting patents, not yet used, and which obviously may not be, which we found interesting. They are quite recent, so it is by no means certain that sooner or later they will not have a practical response, unlike one that, by its very nature, seems closely linked to a now dead console like the Nintendo 3DS. Let’s see together what they are.
Head / Eye Tracking
There was a lot of talk about this technology fifteen years ago, when Johnny Lee applied it to the Nintendo Wii, using – among other tools – the console’s sensor bar. It is certainly the most interesting patent among those we will talk about: for the effect generated, for the potential, for the fact that, despite the fact that it has been talked about for years, no one has ever exploited it. What generates thehead / eye tracking it is a three-dimensional effect totally different from that guaranteed by 3D viewers, because it does not exploit stereoscopy in any way, but enlarges and moves the elements on the screen in relation to the user’s position. Basically you get the impression, thanks to the perspective variation, that the television is a kind of window on another world and you get it in a much more ingenious and simple (and economical) way than with viewers.
In its patent, Nintendo supposes to insert the sensor on a pair of glasses: nothing to do with expensive helmets that cover the entire head. The effect, as you can see in the video linked at the beginning of the paragraph, is bewitching and convincing. The doubts lie in the practical application: if it is necessary to move as much as Johnny Lee to obtain good results, it would hardly be a technology suitable for long sessions. This problem would not concern the Nintendo patent, which should simulate with the movement of the eyes – if we understand correctly – the same effect that Jimmy obtains with the movement of the head (and body). Secondly, we imagine it is limited to titles with a central perspective, which in the end are not many. Also, video games are usually played standing still, without walking or moving too much, even those with motion control: would it still work in such circumstances? Probably these are the concrete reasons why, despite the effect it is impressivewe have not yet seen peripherals that exploit it.
Game Boy smartphone
For a long time there has been rumors of a Game Boy Classic Mini, as well as of the arrival on the Nintendo Switch of the titles for the most famous portable console of the 90s. And if, instead of these solutions, Nintendo decides to make every smartphone in the world a potential Game Boy? The goal of this patent would seem to be precisely this: to produce a smartphone protector that has the shape and buttons very similar to those of the Game Boy. The idea is certainly not evil, but it would change the relationship between Nintendo and smartphone not a little: where would the convenience be? Currently – and historically – the Japanese company is not interested in letting its classics play on other platforms: why should it change its attitude for an operation of this kind, with relatively limited ambitions?
When this patent came out, Nintendo Switch had not yet been announced, but Iwata had already spoken publicly about NX, the code name of the console; its nature was not yet known, although there was much talk of a hybrid ecosystem. In any case, many people associated this patent with the pad of the future consul; at one point they even shot photos (fake, of course) of this infamous controller, resting on the desk of some developer involved in the NX project.
At the time it was rumored that Nintendo was developing this controller together with Sharp, but its operation has never been too clear: apart from the classic ridges at the top (L and R), the reasons for the oval shape remain unknown. As well as the advantages, if not the obvious ones, of having a pad equipped with touch screen: for some dreamers, it would have been a controller with changing buttons. Basically, each game would have its own keys, arranged differently according to the needs of the developers. The oval shape, however, we repeat, remains a little understandable feature.
Stylus with remote touch
As you may have understood, this is the patent closely linked to a single console we were talking about, namely Nintendo 3DS. For it to make sense, it needs a portable platform, which at the same time guarantees stereoscopic 3D and supports the stylus. It is unlikely that a console will be produced in the future that combines these three elements again. Despite this, the idea was and remains interesting: it is a pen capable of “touch” the image remotely, without reaching the screen. In practice, you could have caressed the puppies of Nintendogs + Cats in a visually intuitive way, arriving where you “saw” the image with the stereoscopic effect, avoiding the touch screen. And it would also be able to vibrate, to emphasize touch.
This patent can certainly be associated with the development area that Iwata defined “Quality of Life“: a section in which Nintendo has invested a lot, which has not given any practical application. As already mentioned, the former president Nintendo was very close to this sector, so it is possible that with Furukawa he has been definitively sidelined. L ‘idea was to create products that could improve the health of users, also considering the growing average age of the Japanese people (therefore, consequently, of possible buyers). This gadget, through a smartphone (or a Switch?) would have to monitor the your vital signs during the night, then give you tips / warnings to improve the next morning.
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