There have been a number of new Nintendo patents over the last year or so, and now, there’s one more. Filed last December (but made public only within the last few days), Nintendo has applied for a patent for a “hand-held information processing apparatus,” featuring some cool sound and vibration tech. According to the patent, the device will be capable of not only producing 3D sound, but also using vibration to respond to on-screen actions.
The basic design of the device is reminiscent of a smartphone—a rectangular body, featuring buttons on one end and speakers on the side closest to the player. With the exception of the few buttons and the casing, most of the front of the device is a touch screen. The speakers are wired such that they are able to be inversely controlled, giving the illusion of a moving sound source. For example, as a character moved from the left side of the screen to the right, the speaker configuration would mean that the sound could mimic this movement, giving rise to the use of 3D sound.
In addition, a vibrator is located between the speakers and can interact with them in two different ways as well. If the vibrator is going off, the device will be able to adjust the volume of the speakers accordingly. The vibrator will also be able to change its amplitude in proportion (either regularly or inversely) to the volume of the speakers. The vibrator would also be able to provide haptic feedback and interact with on-screen actions, providing more of a rumble feature to the device. Certainly the device would react when you touch its screen, but it could also provide a localized vibration, say if a giant object crashed in a particular corner of the screen. The device could also use a gyroscope or accelerometer to alter vibration based on the positioning of the device, providing a more immersive experience.
Though the primary device would use virtual buttons on the touchscreen, Nintendo also detailed plans for a peripheral device which would turn these buttons into physical inputs. The peripheral would be placed over top of the device and would resemble a traditional controller, complete with a joystick, buttons, and a D-pad. You can see the design for this peripheral above.
It is unclear right now what Nintendo would plan to use this device for. Could it be used either in conjunction with or as an alternate version of NX? Might the rumors that Nintendo is working on a new handheld be true? We’ll just have to wait and find out!
What do you think this patent could be used for? Would you like to see it be a part of NX or would you rather see it come to light as a new device entirely?
Source: US Patent and Trademark Office