Sony has just filed for a patent on a Banana Controller and, frankly, we're not sure what to think.
Trawling through Games Industry patents is one of the more interesting things you can do with your spare time. Sometimes it can unveil the next industry-changing piece of technology and sometimes it's... A Banana Controller?
Of course, we should take everything we see patent-wise with a pinch of salt, but this could actually be a massive step forwards in the future of augmented reality and gaming as a whole.
Below, we have everything you need to know about Sony, their new Banana Controller, and what this means.
It's A Banana Controller?!
We know, it's hard to believe that after the technological triumph that is the DualSense controller that Sony would dial it back and patent a Banana Controller but here we are.
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With each generation of consoles comes a new development in controller technology, but perhaps the controller itself doesn't actually need to be all that complicated?
In a recently published patent application, Sony appears to be patenting a Banana Controller.
The patent itself also comes with a little diagram to help showcase how you could use a banana as a controller.
We know it looks like a joke but we promise there is a good reason behind all of this...
What Does This Actually Mean
Okay, so the new Sony patent isn't specifically for a Banana Controller but rather the concept of using any old household item as a controller.
We guess they just fancied some fruit when they were deciding on what to pitch the concept with.
The application itself highlights any "non-luminous passive object being held by a user", rather than just a banana.
" It would be desirable if a user could use an inexpensive, simple and non-electronic device as a video game peripheral... The present disclosure seeks to address or at least alleviate some of the above-identified problems."
So, what does this actually mean?
Well, it could mean a lot. In theory, Sony is trying to completely change the way that players interact with their games by introducing a technology that would universally apply any controller scheme to almost any non-luminous object.
Looking at the patent, this would be done by introducing a new way of object tracking.
Rather than using something like QR codes to track an object, Sony's new technology would be using the pixel contours and colours of the image they have in order to track the item.
Then, all the technology would need to do is approximate where a button would be on the item and in theory the player could virtually press it to play.
The Future Of PSVR?
With all this in mind, this patent also offers an exciting look at what the future of Sony's PSVR technology could look like.
Object Tracking, if done correctly, could be the future of motion controls in gaming and it seems like Sony are - at the very least - toying with the idea of working on this.
The application discusses the way the Banana Controller's movement might be inferred in a 3D space. This could mean you could use it as a joystick in a Flight Simulator, as a weapon in some sort of medieval fighting game, or even as a gun...?
However, what about more than one item?
Well... the patent goes into some detail about using multiple items as controllers, much like you would while playing a VR title, and could be aiming to use this technology as a way to cut down the cost of their new tech.
It discusses using multiple items in a similar way to one, but with an added relativity between the two.
So, for example, you might be able to use one Banana Controller in each hand to form one steering wheel in-game.
Of course, at this point, it is all speculation. However, the idea that Sony is working to make these advanced technologies more affordable and widely accessible could open up a lot more opportunities for how they are used down the line.
" Whilst peripherals such as these can enrich a player's video game experience, the technical complexity (and therefore cost) associated with such devices can often act as a barrier to entry in terms of players accessing such equipment. Most video game consoles come with at least one controller and for some players, this may be the only controller in their possession."
Of course, this technology wouldn't just apply to VR technology, but it could be an important step towards making this technology more widely available.