Nintendo patent hints at new DS functionality

Filing with the US Patent Office provides glimpse into possible future iteration of the Mario factory's popular portable.

Although the DS Lite was revealed just weeks ago and won't hit the market until later this year, Nintendo may be already planning future versions of its popular dual-screen handheld.

Earlier this month, Mario factory patent publication #20060025218 was released by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The filing in question relates to a "game apparatus utilizing touch panel and storage medium storing game program."

While that may sound like the DS's touch screen panel and DS cartridges, the technology in question appears to be for a more advanced version of the console. First off is the hardware form factor shown in the first diagram of the patent publication, which looks much different than either the current DS or the forthcoming DS Lite. Since the patent was originally drafted in July 2004 and filed in July 2005, it is possible it could be a prototype for the DS or DS Lite, as often patents feature conceptual mockups of hardware rather than the final design.

However, the functionality described in the patent publication goes one step further than that of the current DS, which can only recognize one point of contact on its touch screen. Noticeably absent from the hardware schematic are the X and Y buttons featured on the current DS and the DS Lite. Instead, the device outlined in the publication replaces the buttons with "a touch panel on which at least two pointing positions are simultaneously detectable." Numerous diagrams illustrate the functionality, showing a player controlling a spaceship on the top screen by placing and moving two fingers on the touch screen below.

Using at-times dense language, the patent publication also describes how a player would control the top-screen action with two fingers on the touch screen. "In response to an operation of the touch panel by a player, coordinates values of the detected two points are detected, and at least one of a distance between the two points and an angle of the line connecting the two points is calculated," reads the patent.

Diagrams included in the patent publication show how players can control a spaceship's speed and bearing by moving their fingers further apart and changing their angle. The publication describes this functionality as follows: "Furthermore, change amounts of the distance and angle between the two points are calculated. A movement parameter such as a travel speed and a turning angle is set on the basis of at least one of the calculated distance and angle, and the movement of the character such as travel and turning is controlled on the basis of the movement parameter."

Another theory regarding the Nintendo patent publication was that it is for technology that will be incorporated into a peripheral for the company's next-generation Revolution console. However, Nintendo had not responded to requests for comment on the publication as of press time.

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Discussion

108 comments
mariobro999
mariobro999

this could be the final nail in the psp's coffin

OdinDragoonX
OdinDragoonX

Looks like DS2 will have buffed up graphics and a much better touchscreen, while the PSP2 will have a normal touchscreen (copycats) hahaha

ryokinshin
ryokinshin

u know this is probably an early idea of wat the ds could be, but they added 2 extra buttons instead of a complicated touch screen, anyone else think this?

ConfuseRay
ConfuseRay

somebody summarize this for me i'm too lazy to read it

Socomnewbie
Socomnewbie

I dont know what to say about this. I am going to keep my mouth shut and see what becomes of this.

Darth_Karth
Darth_Karth

Quote from the article "Since the patent was originally drafted in July 2004 and filed in July 2005, it is possible it could be a prototype for the DS or DS Lite, as often patents feature conceptual mockups of hardware rather than the final design." I say its just an early concept of the ds, and wont be made into production. But thats just me, a a few others

amblisnys
amblisnys

Meh. How about bringing more games? Does the touch screen need that much interaction? (not to mention the fingerprints that have already been brought up....

adrianchan56
adrianchan56

These are just rough printouts. 50% chance these are the real deal because... What's the point in showing all your cards when playing poker?

rencie
rencie

Starfox for DS? Very likely! Or...perhaps Pilot Wings DS?

LexLas
LexLas

HMMMMM ? Should I be ready to sell my two DS Nintendos ? Will the games be compatible to the older DS >? HMMMMM ??

remmbermytitans
remmbermytitans

what the f***? so you move your fingers to move the characters? or...? this is very confusing... i'll wait til we have more news...

Ace_The_Ace
Ace_The_Ace

If it is Star Fox, than I will freak out.

Willdyer10
Willdyer10

god dam nintendo i really dont want to buy a 3rd!!!! DS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

frankeyser
frankeyser

neat concept. but what is it for... i mean... if it was for a next generation ds why only two points... and if it was for the revolution... what would it be used for...

Konfusion
Konfusion

Sounds amazing, but they should keep the X/Y buttons in there, just for the sake of making 3rd parties happy.

General_Lee45
General_Lee45

Nintendo is determined to destroy itself and i hope it dies within the next couple years that would be so awesome! I think this is Nintendo trying to destroy itself with lawsuits! YEEHAW! Thank You I hope nintendo destroys itself.

Mista_Sal
Mista_Sal

Hmmm, this sounds pretty interesting. I'm curious to see where Nintendo is headed with this.

hush404
hush404

Bahh, another upgrade Nintendo decided would be best served as an upgraded model?

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

My fingers started cramping-up just reading about it.

ReyWing
ReyWing

The patent says "at least two pointing pos. are simult. detectable." Does that mean we'll be able to use all our fingers on the touch pad? Can u imagine using all your fingers to control a character/object? That's kinda crazy but hopefully designers will make it intuative. The ship controls aren't too shabby. Touch panels are the future (ala Matrix/Minority Report).

Autolycus
Autolycus

as this diagram shows. With two points the the formula listed it is able to create one point. So if by placing two stylus' (or fingertips) equals one point(giving the algorythm) that means the current DS would already be setup for it.

bioniccommando1
bioniccommando1

Looks pretty cool but I hate touching the bottom screen of my ds with my finger! It drives me crazy to get fingerprints on the screen.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

NOOO... they pulled the GBA slot!!! :( oh yeah.....the drawings look stupid too. i'm not a fan.

searandrage
searandrage

But check this out. If you look at the game, it actually has a different design than the current nintendo ds! Plus, there is NO way that this new "Nintendo DS" could play GBA games. I don't know what to think.......I wonder what nintendo is playing at.....

dandymarsh
dandymarsh

that would have some use in Sonic Rush's "Altitude Limit" Levels.

dxtx
dxtx

It's a prototype - they wouldn't release a 'redesign' that's missing two buttons. The DS Lite is likely going to be the main DS version for at least a year after its US launch, probably longer -- there just isn't much they can add to it. Although I do expect Nintendo to 'relaunch' the DS Lite when the Revolution is released, in colors matching the Revolution colors.

ewjim
ewjim

I think Nintendo just don't put on current DS all what they wanted to put there in the beginning... And this is not good!

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

Been reading the comments and noticed that other people remember the fake pics. I'd forgotten that in the fake picture there was an analog stick on the DS, so thanks for reminding me.

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

What interests me about this patent, is the image you see of the DS looks exactly like some "fake" pics of the actual console on the internet a month or so ago.... So if those pics were fake, then isn't this patent a hoax as well? Either that or those other pics were real!

Reetesh
Reetesh

That Is some High Level Thinking and Ideas there I hope that Something like that will really be possible some time soon. and that devce can be a secondary controller for the revolution:P

CLONING
CLONING

funny how stuff like this "leak"

Jackov
Jackov

This is obviously the precursor to StarFox DS. As for the two-finger thing, I have no idea what Nintendo has up their sleeves.....for now. ;)

rbarahona
rbarahona

Simply amazing the kind of games that can be played with two or more touch points on the screen. I love my Nintendo DS and I can't wait to see what kind of games they will be making for this new iteration of the Nintendo DS. In the meantime I'm looking forward to get a Nintendo DS Lite.

cichy69
cichy69

people will rip their fingers apart to make their spaceship go faster lol

L_N
L_N

I haven't long brought a DS i don't want it to be outdated yet, it is miles to early. Although if the Revolution had this technology it would be cool.

RRU_TheReaper
RRU_TheReaper

If anything I would say next GB not DS2..hmmm....who knows its nintendo ffs *shrug*

Petri87
Petri87

That pic of the DS is over a year old.

gogeta85
gogeta85

it could be a new nintendo gameboy remember it only has 2 buttons and remember nintendo saying ds is not a gameboy so that could only mean a more advanced version of gameboy it self because nintendo also stated the ds and gameboy will have its own systems well i hope your on my side with this :)

jamil2nice
jamil2nice

That Model Plane Looks Exactly Like The Fighters In Super Star Fox For The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) (Super Famicom)

777rak
777rak

Wow that look interesting.

Antihistamine1
Antihistamine1

The current DS would have to be programmed to accept two points, so I wouldn't be surprised if this was just for the concept (to be programmed into the game cart). I don't think this has anything to do with the Revolution.

portuguy7
portuguy7

maybe its for the successor to the gameboy

BobbyBobby85
BobbyBobby85

This is obviously a patent for a prototype technology for the Nintendo DS that clearly did not make it into the final finished product. I imagine that when the DS was brainstormed, no-one knew how manipulative one could be with the handheld's much touted touch screen. The inventor of this patent was probably using different conceptual touch screen materials during R & D that featured no similarity to the more cost effective pointing apparatus we have right now. Otherwise, using more advanced touch-screen functionality might have made the DS more expensive to manufacture in the long run. At least, that's my two cents on the subject.