New Nintendo Patent Supports NX Detachable Controllers Rumor, Shows Gesture Functions
A series of strange new patents has emerged.
A newly published Nintendo patent seems to lend credence to a recent report that stated the upcoming NX system will feature detachable controllers.
The patent (as discovered by NeoGAF) was filed with the United States patent office in January 2016, following a related filing in Japan last year. Essentially, it describes an accessory that can be attached to the outside of an "information processing device." Based on the accompanying illustrations, it's talking about a sort of controller (or accessory with additional inputs) that can be attached to the main device when needed. The accessory could have buttons, a rotating dial, or other inputs.
It's important to note that, as always, patents aren't necessarily indicative of future plans. Companies patent concepts all the time that never end up being utilized--thankfully, in some cases--and the images included are merely examples, not set-in-stone designs.
In this case, though, it's hard not to draw the connection to a recent report that said Nintendo's upcoming NX is a handheld device that can be docked for use on a TV. More importantly for the purposes of this patent, it was also described as using detachable controller modules that connect to both sides of the device's screen--something that lines up with what's seen here.
Besides these modules, the patent also describes a method for reading the inputs of the connected accessory. The main handheld device would be equipped with an infrared camera that can, among other things, determine what inputs on the accessory are being utilized. According to the patent, this would allow for the accessory to operate without any electrical components.
The camera would do this by looking through a hole between the main device and the controller. Another use for the camera is detailed in a separate patent, which describes using hand gestures near the side of the device when an accessory is not connected. (One example is playing rock, paper, scissors by making the relevant hand gesture.) A third patent elaborates on this further.
It's all rather peculiar and somewhat confounding. Again, we don't know for sure whether Nintendo has firm plans to implement any of this in its actual hardware. The same goes for a handheld device patent discovered earlier this summer.
With a release date of March 2017, Nintendo will likely unveil NX in the coming months. The company has avoided announcing any specifics about it, describing it as a "brand new concept" and declining to share more in order to prevent copycats.
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