Sony patent filing talks about glove interface object
Some patent filings make viewers scratch their heads and wonder if the inventions could possibly be viable, functional and commercially successful now or in a million years. A patent filing recently made public by the US Patent & Trademark Office is a different story. Sony Computer Entertainment has filed a patent for a "Glove Interface Object" and many tech sites are saying, whew, the time has come.
The patent describes the device as follows: "A glove interface object is provided, comprising: at least one flex sensor configured to generate flex sensor data identifying a flex of at least one finger portion of the glove interface object; at least one contact sensor configured to generate contact sensor data identifying a contact between a first portion of the glove interface object and a second portion of the glove interface object; a communications module configured to transmit the flex sensor data and the contact sensor data to a computing device for processing to determine a finger position pose of the glove interface object, the finger position pose being applied for rendering a virtual hand in a view of a virtual environment on a head-mounted display (HMD), the virtual hand being rendered based on the identified finger position pose."
The two inventors are based in San Mateo, California. The suggestion involves a glove interface object to enable a user to interact with an interactive application such as a video game. Tech watchers assessing the patent news saw it as a potential interface solution to jive with Sony's plans for virtual reality.
The patent was submitted on October 17, 2014, and recently made known by the US Patent & Trademark office.
The patent authors described the industry backdrop for this idea. "As computing power has expanded, developers of video games have likewise created game software that takes advantage of these increases in computing power. To this end, video game developers have been coding games that incorporate sophisticated operations and mathematics to produce a very realistic game experience... As game complexity continues to intrigue players, game and hardware manufacturers have continued to innovate to enable additional interactivity and computer programs."
Kyle Orland, senior gaming editor at Ars Technica, thinks the device could be a real boost for virtual reality experience. "As someone who has tried a lot of virtual reality demos, trust me when I say that the ability to see your hands—and to use them to reach out and interact with the virtual world—makes all the difference. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that Sony Computer Entertainment has filed a patent application for a 'glove interface object' that could help provide accurate virtual reality hand tracking without the need to actually hold a controller."
Why, what's wrong with interactive devices now? He said the glove would be offering users a bit more functionality than those handheld wands.
The patent details what that functionality would involve.
Of course, glove controllers are "not exactly revolutionary in and of themselves," wrote Alessio Palumbo in WCCFtech, "but with the advancement in technology and the application in a VR environment things could definitely get interesting."
While it is too soon to tell if this will materialize into a real project under wraps leave alone a product on sale, Rob Williams in Hot Hardware liked what he saw in this patent. He wrote, "it looks like Sony could release what some could consider a spiritual successor to the Power Glove, the classic peripheral for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Since the release of the Power Glove almost 30 years ago, there have undoubtedly been some attempts at similar products, but Sony's could be the first that tastes true success."
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