Brace yourselves once again for another trip into the wacky world of technology patents! This latest bizarre concept comes courtesy of Sony, who've managed to brainstorm a modular Augmented Reality videogame controller that can assume the vague form of multiple in-game weapons and items, using the PlayStation 4's camera.
Think PlayStation Move, only you can plug extra plastic blocks, connectors and hinges onto it. Look, now it's a bat! Now it's a sword. Now it's a gun! Now it's... well, it's a patent, so the smart money's on this odd peripheral never turning into a saleable product.
Clearly Sony's R&D division have put a lot of thought into it, though. Could this be the future of PlayStation motion control and AR?
As per usual, a NeoGAF user was Johnny-on-the-spot in terms of catching the patent [via CVG] - which was filed last year and published last week. I'm sure most of you figured it out from the pictures, but here's the pertinent pitch from the document itself:
"A block tool, which can be assembled by a user, is configured with multiple types of blocks and is shot by a camera for capturing a still image or a moving image. The position coordinates of a marker of the square-pillar block in a three-dimensional space are obtained by image recognition.
Also, a connecting position and the type of each block, a gradient vector of the square-pillar block, an angle between two blocks constituting the square-pillar block, and the respective blocks' lengths are obtained so as to derive the shape, posture, and position of the block tool, and corresponding information processing is then performed."
Or, in short, players can make rough approximations of a weapon and/or object, then interact with it physically. Like this robot.
It's easy to laugh at the idea, but there's a lot to be said for physical feedback when it comes to motion control - something that stopped Kinect from ever feeling particularly intuitive last generation. It's always easier and more natural to interact with something real and tangible that anchors us in the virtual space, such as a WiiMote or lightgun, so there's a lot to be said for the basic concept. The PS4 already has a camera, after all.
Still looks both goofy and potentially pricey to us, mind - though us gamers will put up with practically anything these days.
What do you make of the idea? Would you buy something like it, or is motion control so last-gen? Have your say in the comments!