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Sony Files Patent For Temperature Feedback Move Controller

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the flame-malware-has-new-meaning dept.

Input Devices 81

Zothecula writes "Video game developers are always looking for new ways to give players a more immersive experience. But with several motion-controlled systems widely available and a viable virtual reality headset in the works, what else could be done to make games seem more realistic? Sony may have an unexpected answer with a recent patent that describes a controller that changes temperature between hot and cold to match in-game actions. With the controller giving 'temperature feedback,' the idea is that players would be able to more closely feel what their character feels, from getting hit with a fireball to traveling through a blizzard."

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SONY RULES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681213)

In their mind !!

Cooperation with Fleshlight? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681221)

If you RTFA: It's also planned as a "sheath attachment".

Re:Cooperation with Fleshlight? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41681887)

+1 "a bit wrong" mod point option is missing. When you get married the thing gets and OS update leaving the control stuck on cold......

Re:Cooperation with Fleshlight? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#41683137)

Nowadays it's important to differentiate if you're getting married in the game, or in real life :)

Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681237)

This news gives me a warm feeling in my... controller!

Battery life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681279)

There goes the battery life in my controller. How to they planning to implement cold anyways?

Re:Battery life (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41681363)

I have not RTFA, but the only way I can envision that would be through the use of peltiers. Those will give both hot and cold with ease. The only downside is they suck up quite a lot of current - the battery life would render this impractical for wireless controllers.

Re:Battery life (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | about 2 years ago | (#41684075)

Please. Wireless controllers are so last generation. Sony will boldly stride forward, doing away with that stale gimmick and adding the temperature changing controller of tomorrow that everyone wants.

Re:Battery life (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41685321)

Power is consumed by a peltier effect device. The net effect will be the controller heats up. The immediate effect may be the surface cools down. The insides will heat up much more than that outside cools down though.

Re:Battery life (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41687345)

Not a problem. Firstly, if you put the peltiers right under the finger contact points then you need dissipate a minimal amount of heat. You can do that by including heatsink in the center-lower section, where no fingers ever touch during play.

Re:Battery life (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41687575)

You'll need to dissipate 10-20x more heat than you remove with a peltier, since they're very inefficient, in the order of 5 - 10%.

Good luck with that.

No way this is for video games (3, Funny)

OldKingCole (2672649) | about 2 years ago | (#41681281)

Apparently Sony is moving into adult entertainment now. This thing plus dual shock can make one hell of a toy for one lucky lady.

Re:No way this is for video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681401)

But is it...

Better Than Life?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Than_Life [wikipedia.org]

Re:No way this is for video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681573)

Right... I'm sure millions of people can't wait to feel that cold cadaver's loins in a more realistic manner...

Re:No way this is for video games (3, Informative)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 2 years ago | (#41683753)

You joke, but there actually was a 'Trance Vibrator' controller for the Sony PS2, it was released for the game 'Rez' [wikipedia.org] in Japan.

What can I say... (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 years ago | (#41681293)

Except for "Drop it like it's hot!".
Now seriously, getting hit by a fireball requires a sudden change in temperature from normal to hot, and then a sudden heat dissipation (OK, maybe not so sudden). Pretty difficult to achieve such a sudden temperature change given a controller's restrictions, unless you would, as a customer, accept a bulky controller which would be plugged in to a power source. Peltier effect can achieve pretty sudden temperature changes (backed by a highly thermoconductive material, e.g. copper, aluminum) but it sucks energy like there's no tomorrow. Running on batteries? Forget it.
However, I would accept a bulky, power-hungry controller if it would give me such feedback. Cold beer effect for walking in a blizzard, sudden heat when hit by fireball... yes please.
Question is... would it pee in your hand if your character starts swimming?

Re:What can I say... (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41681943)

You need to swim in better places.

Soo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681313)

"Sony's patent also describes possibly containing the whole temperature feedback system into a "sheath attachment" that slides over an existing controller."

Two questions, will the sheath attachment be lubricated and can i put two sheath attachments on at the same time?

Can simulate pain too. (2)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#41681315)

I don't know how many people have tried this in a science center. They have two tubes of alternating warm and cool wrapped around a cylinder. When you place your hands on them it tricks your brain into thinking it's very hot. If you put a finger on each tube they are mildly cool and warm.

What about taste & smell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688075)

Can we patent the idea of UIs using our other senses, like taste and smell? Or will they get away with "limitations" like that a smell device would obviously require some sort of replaceable scent cartridge and claim that nobody has thought of exactly that? Oh, and there's a computer involved, too, lest we forget! I bet it even has normal computer gear in it too, like CPU, RAM, memory, network connection(s)....

Totally unobvious! Nobody would ever think of that!

And we can use other less-well-known senses, like our sense of position....

Re:What about taste & smell? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41691203)

Has anyone else created a thermal feedback controller? Not just playing devil's advocate, actually genuinely interested.

Batteries (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 2 years ago | (#41681337)

Very interesting, but since heat is energy, the control will either have to emit heat (to get warm) or at the very least "pump" heat from place to place, neither of which are very cheap energy-wise (relative to the small size and batteries of a wireless controller). So this may not be practical in a wireless, battery-powered controller.

I would think thermoelectrics [wikipedia.org] would be good for this, but the problem is once the whole controller is hot from being held, it would be hard to cool unless the heat could be radiated into the air.

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681535)

It's stupid on so many levels. Even if they can pull it off, what protects the components of the controller from wearing out sooner? I'm not an avid gamer, but I want my controller to feel normal. I don't want my hands too warm or too cold. I'd prefer comfort when playing (although my game of choice is Worms Armageddon).

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41686113)

Then you can disable that option, just let others to use it if they prefer, please your honesty.

Been there, done that.. (4, Insightful)

gmarsh (839707) | about 2 years ago | (#41684057)

I worked on a system similar to this for a man with an prosthetic arm. We stuck a temperature sensor in the finger of the prosthetic hand, and used a small thermoelectric plate which contacted his skin where the prosthetic attached to him. The back side of the peltier plate was glued to an aluminum bar acting as a thermal source/sink, and the front side had a small stainless plate acting as the contact point with a second temperature sensor bonded to it for feedback. Using a microcontroller and a bit of simple hardware, we made the peltier plate temperature equal to the temperature detected at the finger. With some limits, of course.

The man went from having a plastic arm to having something that *felt* like an actual part of his body again. He described going home and touching his wife's face, and almost breaking down crying - it felt pretty good to hear that, especially since it only took us a few days to design/build the thing.

Anyway, it ran off three NiCd AA batteries and had a battery life of about 24 hours - he'd plug it in to charge when he went to bed, and it would easily last until the next charge cycle. These days thermoelectric devices are more efficient, batteries are a lot better and microcontrollers have much better power consumption.

There's a few things that make a system like this fairly low power:

- You don't need a big contact area to get the sensation of temperature across to the user - you don't need to heat or cool their whole hand. Half a square centimeter is plenty if you put it at a fairly temperature-sensitive part of the hand, such as where your fingers meet your palm. It'll feel weird at first but the 'immersion' feeling will eventually set in.
- There's only a narrow range of temperature that you have to drive the contact plate to. You don't need to do 0 to 50 degrees C, and I fully expect Sony to restrict the range to +-10C at most for liability reasons, not to mention practical reasons.
- Skin isn't *that* thermally conductive.

So if your contact plate is sized small and only within a few degrees of body temperature, you're probably only moving half a watt at most between the hand from the contact plate.

Secondly, I seriously doubt the thermal "immersion" effect will be running all the time, probably only acting on 'events' the game - walking indoors/outdoors (pulse of hot/cold), picking up a weapon from the ground (cold), getting hit with a fireball (hot), falling into water (cold), etc. Much like vibration motors in controllers don't run all the time.

End result is that running the thermoelectrics won't take that much power, and sinking/sourcing heat from within the controller shouldn't be that hard. Overall, seems pretty practical to me.

Re:Been there, done that.. (1)

jsinger61 (461373) | about 2 years ago | (#41686557)

The villian in one of early James Bond movies should have a patent on it. The gist of the game was to throw bombs at your enemy. But when a bomb hit your side, you felt the pain of hundreds and thousands of people dying through the hand controller by way of good zap. The more that died, the bigger the jolt. Whoever lets go first, loses! Guess who won?

Re:Been there, done that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689105)

That's a very interesting summary of the video game scene from Never Say Never Again [imdb.com] . There was a skill element, not just the enduring pain part.

Not exactly an "early" James Bond movie IMHO, but that's a mere quibble.

By the way, as a clueless teenager I thought Roger Moore was the best James Bond. Watching Never Say Never Again instantly converted me to a Sean Connery fan.

Re:Been there, done that.. (1)

MiscellaneousFiles (897655) | about 2 years ago | (#41690427)

Coldfinger?

For really immersive experiences, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681371)

add the ability to send a high voltage shock through the heart pacemaker...so of like getting hit with a lightning blade or a rasengan.

Boring... (4, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41681405)

If Sony really wants an immersive, realistic "Sony Experience," it should develop a controller that installs a root kit on the other player's system that allows you to temporarily read his messages, see what music he has and make his controller punch him in the face.

Wait. I think I was picturing the Soviet version. Reverse that. It installs the root kit on your system and you're the one who gets punched in the face.

whaaaa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681421)

Hey my mom has one of these in her closet

Counter Strike: (3, Funny)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about 2 years ago | (#41681449)

Now with real bullets!

Mage casts a fireball at me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681539)

....and my controller melts in my hands and I wish I had medical insurance!

Another Useless Option (3, Interesting)

ifrag (984323) | about 2 years ago | (#41681569)

Yet another useless stupid option to turn off before playing a game. I always have to hunt around and turn the stupid vibration options off because all it does is distract my aim or whatever. Rumble pack has been nothing but pure gimmick ever since Nintendo tried it. Wherever this technology goes it's almost certainly on the immediate disable list.

Re:Another Useless Option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681815)

You must be a camper.

Re:Another Useless Option (1)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41684005)

Yet another useless stupid option to turn off before playing a game.

Yes, but how else are they supposed to justify charging $89.99 for a second PS4 controller? The margins have to come from somewhere. There has to be some way to wring more blood from the consumer stone. Microscopic spikes that prick your hands?

Re:Another Useless Option (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 2 years ago | (#41684047)

I guess then you are not in the market for the optional headcrab helmet that comes with it...

Re:Another Useless Option (1)

donaldm (919619) | about 2 years ago | (#41690969)

Yet another useless stupid option to turn off before playing a game. I always have to hunt around and turn the stupid vibration options off because all it does is distract my aim or whatever. Rumble pack has been nothing but pure gimmick ever since Nintendo tried it. Wherever this technology goes it's almost certainly on the immediate disable list.

Your opinion not mine and many many millions of people out there who like tactile feedback if the game is programmed to use it properly. In fact there are many games out there that require tactile feedback to be on if you want to play the game properly. Of course if you really don't like options then stick to a mono sound system after all we can't have you using your hearing to determine where the next enemy is coming from. Oh yes turn off that pesky colour on your glass standard definition TV since black and white is good enough for everyone. :)

rumble grumble (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 2 years ago | (#41681599)

I hated the rumble pack addition to the controllers. I will hate this as well. If you want to do anything with the controllers, make them cool down a little bit so long gaming sessions don't give you hot sweaty hands anymore.

Re:rumble grumble (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681725)

I hated the rumble pack addition to the controllers. I will hate this as well. If you want to do anything with the controllers, make them cool down a little bit so long gaming sessions don't give you hot sweaty hands anymore.

/me notes, "Over-obsessive, winning-is-more-important-than-fun gamers, the sort who hate everything anyway and desperately do whatever they can to avoid paying us money, will hate this sight unseen".

Sweet. Maybe now we can finally get rid of you whining brats and get an audience that'll keep us in business! Thanks for your feedback!

-Sony

***

Hey, it got us filthy, stinking rich this generation, and made our console the top-selling one for years. Can't argue with the methodology.

-Nintendo

Re:rumble grumble (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682425)

Speaking of not paying money -- Nintendo's system was trivially easy to "hack" so that you could play ISOs off of an external hard drive. It made the system quite a bit better to use. It's funny because Nintendo could have sold this setup as an addon to the Wii along with a downloadable games service.

Goes to show you what happens when you let a bunch of faggets run your game company.

Re:rumble grumble (1)

donaldm (919619) | about 2 years ago | (#41690989)

I hated the rumble pack addition to the controllers. I will hate this as well. If you want to do anything with the controllers, make them cool down a little bit so long gaming sessions don't give you hot sweaty hands anymore.

Evidently you have never played with the NES controller, no rumble but after a few how hours of gaming you end up with RSI although to be fair you still had cool hands.

Skyrim (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | about 2 years ago | (#41681607)

I can imagine having to wear gloves in Skyrim where it snowing a lot of the time!

Interesting, but practical? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#41681629)

I wonder how quickly it could actually change temperatures in response to in-game stimuli. For instance, while I'm sure it could change temperature easily enough to correspond to an in-game environment (e.g. jungle, arctic, etc.), I seriously doubt it could respond meaningfully to a sudden fireball, blast of steam exhaust, or other type of fire. And what about games where even the environment can change rapidly? For instance, Metroid Prime has the player going between lava caverns, jungles, and arctic wastes. With all of the backtracking in the game, it's not uncommon to visit all three of them in the span of a minute or two. Can the idea described in the patent keep up with that?

I haven't looked at the patent, but I suppose they could pre-heat and pre-chill some materials inside the controller, then simply expose them to the player in response to stimuli, rather than heating/cooling the entire device in response, but at that point you'd need some sort of mechanism to expose/hide the materials, and that just sounds like it's ripe for being damaged. You might be able to alleviate the issue a bit by making part of the surface of the controller out of a material that can quickly conduct differing temperatures, then could unsheath/sheath the materials while under that surface, but even the small delay in temperature propagation caused by doing so would affect immersion immensely. After all, you don't want the player getting mixed signals about when fireballs are whizzing by or whatever else.

So, long story short, cool idea for environmental effects that'll last for more than a few minutes, but, as with the scent producing accessories that were around a few years back, it just seems impractical for a number of different uses.

Also, sweaty hands while playing games are no fun. Anything that heats up my controller is a non-starter, in my opinion.

isn't this an old idea? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41681663)

I seem to remember reading about a patent for this ~10 years ago or so.
the idea is to put a peltier or similar element on the controller. ..it's a _stupid_ idea, too.

Re:isn't this an old idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681839)

Yes, my joystick gets warm just thinking about it. Where's the virtual mucous already?

I've always thought credit cards should do this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681719)

A credit card that gets hotter, the higher the balance.

Or maybe just delivering electric shocks.

Re:I've always thought credit cards should do this (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41685525)

So money really can burn a hole in your pocket?

Next, Sony will patent... (1)

QuantumHack (58048) | about 2 years ago | (#41681867)

SMELL-O-VISION! When your character gets fragged, smell the nasty burning hair!

Flame on! (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about 2 years ago | (#41681983)

I can just see it now. I'm in a game and I get blasted by a flame thrower and I can feel it in my hands. I guess the next logical step after that will be bodysuits to really feel it all. And don't forget I still have a lot of hopes that they do smell-o-vision. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smell-O-Vision [wikipedia.org]

Prior Art (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#41682073)

There has got to be prior art for this in the adult toy industry. Or does this get by for being 'on a console' just like all that 'on a computer' crap?

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41683099)

there is Prior Art for it in the works of Isacc Asimov.....

This would take me out of the game (1)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41682099)

When i play video games for an extended amount of time I am no longer aware of the physical reality around me, only the virtual world and the online chat. I am focused so precisely on what I am doing, a shot of cold air or a cold keyboard when I enter an Ice level would actually detract from that. Vibration from the controller is mostly ignored when playing xbox games and a distraction as well.

With huge TV's and cheap(er) high quality Audio, I really have all I need, just focus on making better games and faster consoles and more vibrant environments and gaming will be fun for years to come.

Controllers with built in fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682199)

Controllers with built in fan have been around for awhile. So this just adds in-game logic for the concept. Sad that's a patent, just copy all the smell-o-vision/vibrating seat/fans that they played with in movies and add "in a controller."

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682235)

It's one step away from smell-o-vision and it's a bad idea. It will either make your hands sweaty and nasty or it will make your fingers less agile.

Why limit ourselves to the controller? (1)

Wattos (2268108) | about 2 years ago | (#41682283)

Why is Sony limiting this technology to the controller? The PS4 should actually come with an air conditioner changing the temperature in the room. So if the character is in a cold environment, you should be freezing. Similarly, they should also include a flame thrower in the PS4, so that when you get hit by a fire spell in the game, you actually start burning. That would be totally immersive!

Re:Why limit ourselves to the controller? (1)

bmorton (170477) | about 2 years ago | (#41682577)

This already kind of happens. Certain games can cause the room to heat the room almost unbearably at times.

Re:Why limit ourselves to the controller? (1)

donaldm (919619) | about 2 years ago | (#41691003)

This already kind of happens. Certain games can cause the room to heat the room almost unbearably at times.

Not to mention controllers been thrown at the TV (Oh Wait!).

Opportunity for whole new class of game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682631)

"Brand Me" and "Cauterize That Wound!" More fun than those old wood burning sets.

Porn Games (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41682653)

This will revolutionize the porn game industry... imagine what the controllers could do with this technology.

Another "useless" patent ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682675)

Not sure why they bother filing these.

But hey, let not waste this opportunity to bash Sony even though they have not done anything wrong - it's just silly.

Obligatory (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41682705)

i'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet

Dumb. (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about 2 years ago | (#41683267)

Well, I guess the one thing this idea has going for it is no more sweaty palms. Unless you happen to be in hell or near a lava pit or something like that, in which case it'll likely just make your palms sweatier.

Sony was always pathetic at innovating in the video game market. I would say that Nintendo (and at one time, Sega) are (or were) the pioneers for decades. Anything Sony does that's not blatantly ripping Nintendo off, it's a stupid idea like this. Along with RIIIDGE RACER!!! And they're certainly not interested in gimmicks...

Re:Dumb. (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 2 years ago | (#41684173)

I think Sony's thing is doing what they do well. They know how to create a great console and a great mix of games, something Nintendo can't seem to do. And PSN is great too, right up there with Live, and better than Live on the DRM front by far.

Re:Dumb. (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about 2 years ago | (#41722733)

Why does DRM matter when Sony has already demonstrated that they'll sue you for revealing the root encryption key to allow things like homebrew games? No matter what, unfortunately these days DRM seems unavoidable. Meanwhile, I wouldn't trust Sony at all after the whole geohot lawsuit.

Really Slashdot, such a lack of vision! (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 2 years ago | (#41683481)

I'm amazed by the alleged intelligent people here not getting how amazing such a device would be. How else are you going to play a game like Japan's; "Bedtime Hide and Seek Tentacle Hentai Sexy Robot Extreme"?

" You are getting warmer,... tee, hee. No, no, now you are getting colder. My robo-nipples cannot wait. tee hee."

lol (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41683949)

My hands are getting sweaty! Can we go back and fight the ice dragon again?

just int time (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 2 years ago | (#41684205)

Just in time for my line of disposable latex sleeves for Move controllers. You know, for people with sweaty hands.

Prior art released to public domain (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 years ago | (#41684347)

Let me take this opportunity to publically declare the following ideas as prior art and therefore non-patentable by anyone.

Applying electric shock to the user when they screw up, die, etc.

Changing shape of the controller to simulate damage to vechicles being (poorly) commanded.

Scratching or prickling the player with a sharp projection to hurt them in response to an on-screen attack of some kind.

Projecting bright lights and or piercing sounds from the controller to anger or disorient the user.

Strong gryos or moving masses within the controller to physically make control difficult or even cause the controller to "jump" out of a persons hand (Not your moms "dualshock")

Dynamically changing thermal conductivity of controller to make it seem to user as if the controllers temperature has changed. (This is a workaround to sony patent)

A feign controller damage revenge/tilt mode for crybabies who throw their controller around.

Smoke and or smells release to simulate fog, fire, aliens with bad breath..etc.

Create magnetic fields in an attempt to disorient magnetometer embedded in controllers of other players nearby compelling them to physically move to avoid disruption.

Release of liquids to simulate falling off a cliff into a ravine or make the controller extraordinarily slippery or sticky imparing the users ability to control the device.

Any and all possible combinations of controller options can work together to sell an effect. For example applying DC current to a controller to lock up the users muscles and then prickle them or use moving mass to make their hands shake violently.

Controllers which sense current light level in the room and adjust ingame experience to match.

Controllers sense physical proximty to other players and use this feedback on-screen.

Controllers with fans directing puffs of air to simulate strong winds or large masses wizzing by the on-screen character.

Controllers with stored physical prizes such as fake jems or game momentos released once the user has achived a significant goal like beating a boss or winning the game.

Controllers with displays coupled to position and motion sensors to act as augmented reality to on-screen environment.

Controllers which sense the capacitance of the users skin, oxygen saturation, pulse, lekage of EM from body and other facts to effect the physical attributes of on screen avatar or otherwise disparage a user for being out of shape.

Re:Prior art released to public domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41686137)

The saddest part of that is that you probably are really stupid enough to think that your list is somehow prior art. The idiocy of slashtards never ceases to amaze.

Re:Prior art released to public domain (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 years ago | (#41686707)

The saddest part of that is that you probably are really stupid enough to think that your list is somehow prior art. The idiocy of slashtards never ceases to amaze.

I was just having fun. You are being rude and condescending for no reason.

sony rootkit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684501)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/sony_rootkit [wikipedia.org]

never forget, never forgive

Is this really patentable? (1)

steveha (103154) | about 2 years ago | (#41684547)

I don't think anyone tried to patent the "rumble" feedback. Here's another feedback. Is this really patentable?

If so, I expect companies will rush out and file patents on making a controller emit audio to serve as a game feedback, making a controller flash LEDs to serve as a game feedback, making a controller give little electric shocks as a game feedback, etc. Basically just go down the list of possible stimuli and patent everything.

P.S. In the novel Bug Park [baenebooks.com] , people tele-operate micro-robots by VR technology. The battery life of the remote micro-robot is signaled by means of a thermal plate touching the operator's skin: when the battery is full, the plate feels warm, and the plate cools as battery life drops. I'm not a lawyer, so maybe "in a video game" is different enough from "when tele-operating a micro-robot"... but IMHO, even if this patent passes the "obvious" test, it should flunk the prior art test.

steveha

Re:Is this really patentable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684757)

I already thought of electric shock stimuli when this article was first posted. I beat you to it!! I just didn't say anything about it.

Re:Is this really patentable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684909)

If so, I expect companies will rush out and file patents on making a controller emit audio to serve as a game feedback, making a controller flash LEDs to serve as a game feedback, making a controller give little electric shocks as a game feedback, etc. Basically just go down the list of possible stimuli and patent everything.

First, I assume the patent is on how it makes the controller hot or cold, not just the idea of making a controller hot or cold.

Second, audio has already been done: the Wii controllers have speakers on them that are used for making in-game sounds sound like they are close to you. It's sorta silly, especially because the speakers are really low quality.

Re:Is this really patentable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41697901)

I assume the patent is on how it makes the controller hot or cold, not just the idea of making a controller hot or cold.

The article says: "Though it doesn't mention any specific technology for heating or cooling on such a small scale, the patent does present a lot of ideas for how changing temperatures could be applied to video games." This sounds like a patent on just the idea of making a controller hot or cold.

Re:Is this really patentable? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41686359)

It would have taken you 10 whole seconds to google that and find out you are wrong. Yes, "rumble" feedback is patented, and Sony and Microsoft were both sued by Immersion for infringement of US patents 6,424,333 and 6,275,213. Nintendo was not sued because they used their own technology, patented in US patents 6,200,253 and 6,676,520.

Of course these things are patentable, why wouldn't they be?

You can't just 'go down the list and patent everything', you have to claim how you do it. And just because you come up with a way to do something doesn't mean someone else can't come up with another way of accomplishing it, avoiding your patent (see the case I referenced above).

No, a movie is not prior art, since it says nothing at all about HOW that effect is accomplished (which is, of course, what is patentable).

Yes, "temperature feedback motion controller" is different from "battery level indicator". Why would you think otherwise?

Re:Is this really patentable? (1)

steveha (103154) | about 2 years ago | (#41687009)

It would have taken you 10 whole seconds to google that and find out you are wrong. Yes, "rumble" feedback is patented

It sounds like your examples show that the basic idea of a rumble feedback isn't patented, but specific technology implementations are. I didn't mean to say that there were no patents on rumble mechanisms, only that there was no patent on the basic idea of rumbling. It doesn't sound like I am mistaken on this point.

I have no problem with Sony patenting a specific implementation; I have a problem if Sony has just succeeded in making a "land grab" and nobody else will be able to do thermal feedback in computer controllers.

The article says: "Though it doesn't mention any specific technology for heating or cooling on such a small scale, the patent does present a lot of ideas for how changing temperatures could be applied to video games." This sounds like a patent on the basic idea, not the patent on an implementation. Am I wrong here?

By the way, if Sony has some really clever way to heat and cool a controller without draining the battery quickly, that does sound to me like a technology that is worth patenting. But as I noted above, the article says the patent doesn't describe any particular way to do the heating and cooling.

No, a movie is not prior art, since it says nothing at all about HOW that effect is accomplished (which is, of course, what is patentable).

This sounds like you agree with me: the basic idea of a temperature feedback should not be patentable, but a technology to accomplish that feedback should be patentable.

Yes, "temperature feedback motion controller" is different from "battery level indicator". Why would you think otherwise?

Do you mean to say that Microsoft could make a new mouse, or joystick, or keyboard or something incorporating technology similar to what is described in the patent, and Sony wouldn't sue because the patent only covers a "motion controller"?

For that matter, if someone builds thermal feedback technology into a VR body suit, you think Sony won't sue them for infringing this patent?

The more limited the patent is, the less unhappy I will be about it. I thought Sony had just managed to patent the fundamental idea of a thermal feedback in a user interface. If they really have only managed to patent one specific way of doing it, and only in the domain of video game controllers, then never mind.

steveha

When I Read the Headline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688097)

I thought they were going to make a controller whose sensitivity went down when warm, up when cold. ie, if I'm very tense and wanting major accuracy, give it. Sensing temperature, not changing the controller temperature.

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