Nintendo patents inflatable horseback riding peripheral

Japanese publisher details vibrating, air-filled cushion that would let gamers use Wii Remote, Nunchuk as reins.


Nintendo's prime directive for this current console generation has been to broaden the ways in which Wii owners interact with their games. Beginning with the motion-sensing Wii Remote and Nunchuk, the Japanese company has since introduced a Balance Board, which has taken on the functionality of anything from a bathroom scale to a pair of skis, and a Vitality Sensor, which Nintendo announced at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

An artist's representation of the device.
An artist's representation of the device.

All that's fine and well for getting gamers to interact with their Wii in different ways, but as noted by Nintendo in a patent filing with the European Patent Office spotted by gaming site Siliconera, sometimes people just need to get on their horses and ride. Bemoaning the fact that most horse-riding simulations are often monstrous contraptions, Nintendo states that: "It would be desirable to provide an inexpensive, convenient way to realistically simulate, in the home, riding on horseback or on other animals."

As outlined in Nintendo's patent filing, said device involves attaching motion-sensing controllers to an inflatable cushion or other sitting device. Giving the example of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, Nintendo states that the accelerometers on the controllers would be able to sense a gamer's motion as he or she bounces on an inflatable cushion. In response, the game being played on the Wii would respond accordingly, mimicking the motion of a player riding an animal in-game.

Here's how the cushion might work.
Here's how the cushion might work.

Force feedback could also be incorporated into the device. Nintendo notes that the electronic, inflatable cushion could be outfitted with haptic feedback transmitters, which would vibrate in response to occurrences within the game. Taking it one step further, the patent also details a way in which the game could jostle the rider around to mimic a bumpy in-game ride.

Nintendo's horseback riding simulator patent was initially filed with the European Patent Office on January 15, 2009, and was published on the organization's Web site in late July.

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