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Sony Files Patent For Temperature Feedback Move Controller 81

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the flame-malware-has-new-meaning dept.
Zothecula writes "Video game developers are always looking for new ways to give players a more immersive experience. But with several motion-controlled systems widely available and a viable virtual reality headset in the works, what else could be done to make games seem more realistic? Sony may have an unexpected answer with a recent patent that describes a controller that changes temperature between hot and cold to match in-game actions. With the controller giving 'temperature feedback,' the idea is that players would be able to more closely feel what their character feels, from getting hit with a fireball to traveling through a blizzard."
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Sony Files Patent For Temperature Feedback Move Controller

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you RTFA: It's also planned as a "sheath attachment".

    • +1 "a bit wrong" mod point option is missing. When you get married the thing gets and OS update leaving the control stuck on cold......
      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        Nowadays it's important to differentiate if you're getting married in the game, or in real life :)

  • by OldKingCole (2672649) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @10:59AM (#41681281)
    Apparently Sony is moving into adult entertainment now. This thing plus dual shock can make one hell of a toy for one lucky lady.
  • by war4peace (1628283) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:00AM (#41681293)

    Except for "Drop it like it's hot!".
    Now seriously, getting hit by a fireball requires a sudden change in temperature from normal to hot, and then a sudden heat dissipation (OK, maybe not so sudden). Pretty difficult to achieve such a sudden temperature change given a controller's restrictions, unless you would, as a customer, accept a bulky controller which would be plugged in to a power source. Peltier effect can achieve pretty sudden temperature changes (backed by a highly thermoconductive material, e.g. copper, aluminum) but it sucks energy like there's no tomorrow. Running on batteries? Forget it.
    However, I would accept a bulky, power-hungry controller if it would give me such feedback. Cold beer effect for walking in a blizzard, sudden heat when hit by fireball... yes please.
    Question is... would it pee in your hand if your character starts swimming?

  • by trout007 (975317) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:01AM (#41681315)

    I don't know how many people have tried this in a science center. They have two tubes of alternating warm and cool wrapped around a cylinder. When you place your hands on them it tricks your brain into thinking it's very hot. If you put a finger on each tube they are mildly cool and warm.

  • Batteries (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:03AM (#41681337) Homepage Journal

    Very interesting, but since heat is energy, the control will either have to emit heat (to get warm) or at the very least "pump" heat from place to place, neither of which are very cheap energy-wise (relative to the small size and batteries of a wireless controller). So this may not be practical in a wireless, battery-powered controller.

    I would think thermoelectrics [wikipedia.org] would be good for this, but the problem is once the whole controller is hot from being held, it would be hard to cool unless the heat could be radiated into the air.

    • by gmarsh (839707) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @02:15PM (#41684057)

      I worked on a system similar to this for a man with an prosthetic arm. We stuck a temperature sensor in the finger of the prosthetic hand, and used a small thermoelectric plate which contacted his skin where the prosthetic attached to him. The back side of the peltier plate was glued to an aluminum bar acting as a thermal source/sink, and the front side had a small stainless plate acting as the contact point with a second temperature sensor bonded to it for feedback. Using a microcontroller and a bit of simple hardware, we made the peltier plate temperature equal to the temperature detected at the finger. With some limits, of course.

      The man went from having a plastic arm to having something that *felt* like an actual part of his body again. He described going home and touching his wife's face, and almost breaking down crying - it felt pretty good to hear that, especially since it only took us a few days to design/build the thing.

      Anyway, it ran off three NiCd AA batteries and had a battery life of about 24 hours - he'd plug it in to charge when he went to bed, and it would easily last until the next charge cycle. These days thermoelectric devices are more efficient, batteries are a lot better and microcontrollers have much better power consumption.

      There's a few things that make a system like this fairly low power:

      - You don't need a big contact area to get the sensation of temperature across to the user - you don't need to heat or cool their whole hand. Half a square centimeter is plenty if you put it at a fairly temperature-sensitive part of the hand, such as where your fingers meet your palm. It'll feel weird at first but the 'immersion' feeling will eventually set in.
      - There's only a narrow range of temperature that you have to drive the contact plate to. You don't need to do 0 to 50 degrees C, and I fully expect Sony to restrict the range to +-10C at most for liability reasons, not to mention practical reasons.
      - Skin isn't *that* thermally conductive.

      So if your contact plate is sized small and only within a few degrees of body temperature, you're probably only moving half a watt at most between the hand from the contact plate.

      Secondly, I seriously doubt the thermal "immersion" effect will be running all the time, probably only acting on 'events' the game - walking indoors/outdoors (pulse of hot/cold), picking up a weapon from the ground (cold), getting hit with a fireball (hot), falling into water (cold), etc. Much like vibration motors in controllers don't run all the time.

      End result is that running the thermoelectrics won't take that much power, and sinking/sourcing heat from within the controller shouldn't be that hard. Overall, seems pretty practical to me.

      • by jsinger61 (461373)

        The villian in one of early James Bond movies should have a patent on it. The gist of the game was to throw bombs at your enemy. But when a bomb hit your side, you felt the pain of hundreds and thousands of people dying through the hand controller by way of good zap. The more that died, the bigger the jolt. Whoever lets go first, loses! Guess who won?

  • Boring... (Score:5, Funny)

    by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:07AM (#41681405) Journal
    If Sony really wants an immersive, realistic "Sony Experience," it should develop a controller that installs a root kit on the other player's system that allows you to temporarily read his messages, see what music he has and make his controller punch him in the face.

    Wait. I think I was picturing the Soviet version. Reverse that. It installs the root kit on your system and you're the one who gets punched in the face.
  • by bmacs27 (1314285) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:11AM (#41681449)
    Now with real bullets!
  • by ifrag (984323) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:20AM (#41681569)

    Yet another useless stupid option to turn off before playing a game. I always have to hunt around and turn the stupid vibration options off because all it does is distract my aim or whatever. Rumble pack has been nothing but pure gimmick ever since Nintendo tried it. Wherever this technology goes it's almost certainly on the immediate disable list.

    • by guttentag (313541)

      Yet another useless stupid option to turn off before playing a game.

      Yes, but how else are they supposed to justify charging $89.99 for a second PS4 controller? The margins have to come from somewhere. There has to be some way to wring more blood from the consumer stone. Microscopic spikes that prick your hands?

    • by Chemisor (97276)

      I guess then you are not in the market for the optional headcrab helmet that comes with it...

    • by donaldm (919619)

      Yet another useless stupid option to turn off before playing a game. I always have to hunt around and turn the stupid vibration options off because all it does is distract my aim or whatever. Rumble pack has been nothing but pure gimmick ever since Nintendo tried it. Wherever this technology goes it's almost certainly on the immediate disable list.

      Your opinion not mine and many many millions of people out there who like tactile feedback if the game is programmed to use it properly. In fact there are many games out there that require tactile feedback to be on if you want to play the game properly. Of course if you really don't like options then stick to a mono sound system after all we can't have you using your hearing to determine where the next enemy is coming from. Oh yes turn off that pesky colour on your glass standard definition TV since black a

  • I hated the rumble pack addition to the controllers. I will hate this as well. If you want to do anything with the controllers, make them cool down a little bit so long gaming sessions don't give you hot sweaty hands anymore.

    • by donaldm (919619)

      I hated the rumble pack addition to the controllers. I will hate this as well. If you want to do anything with the controllers, make them cool down a little bit so long gaming sessions don't give you hot sweaty hands anymore.

      Evidently you have never played with the NES controller, no rumble but after a few how hours of gaming you end up with RSI although to be fair you still had cool hands.

  • I can imagine having to wear gloves in Skyrim where it snowing a lot of the time!

  • I wonder how quickly it could actually change temperatures in response to in-game stimuli. For instance, while I'm sure it could change temperature easily enough to correspond to an in-game environment (e.g. jungle, arctic, etc.), I seriously doubt it could respond meaningfully to a sudden fireball, blast of steam exhaust, or other type of fire. And what about games where even the environment can change rapidly? For instance, Metroid Prime has the player going between lava caverns, jungles, and arctic waste

  • I seem to remember reading about a patent for this ~10 years ago or so.
    the idea is to put a peltier or similar element on the controller. ..it's a _stupid_ idea, too.

  • A credit card that gets hotter, the higher the balance.

    Or maybe just delivering electric shocks.

  • SMELL-O-VISION! When your character gets fragged, smell the nasty burning hair!

  • I can just see it now. I'm in a game and I get blasted by a flame thrower and I can feel it in my hands. I guess the next logical step after that will be bodysuits to really feel it all. And don't forget I still have a lot of hopes that they do smell-o-vision. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smell-O-Vision [wikipedia.org]
  • There has got to be prior art for this in the adult toy industry. Or does this get by for being 'on a console' just like all that 'on a computer' crap?
  • When i play video games for an extended amount of time I am no longer aware of the physical reality around me, only the virtual world and the online chat. I am focused so precisely on what I am doing, a shot of cold air or a cold keyboard when I enter an Ice level would actually detract from that. Vibration from the controller is mostly ignored when playing xbox games and a distraction as well.

    With huge TV's and cheap(er) high quality Audio, I really have all I need, just focus on making better games and
  • Why is Sony limiting this technology to the controller? The PS4 should actually come with an air conditioner changing the temperature in the room. So if the character is in a cold environment, you should be freezing. Similarly, they should also include a flame thrower in the PS4, so that when you get hit by a fire spell in the game, you actually start burning. That would be totally immersive!

    • by bmorton (170477)

      This already kind of happens. Certain games can cause the room to heat the room almost unbearably at times.

      • by donaldm (919619)

        This already kind of happens. Certain games can cause the room to heat the room almost unbearably at times.

        Not to mention controllers been thrown at the TV (Oh Wait!).

  • This will revolutionize the porn game industry... imagine what the controllers could do with this technology.

  • i'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet

  • Well, I guess the one thing this idea has going for it is no more sweaty palms. Unless you happen to be in hell or near a lava pit or something like that, in which case it'll likely just make your palms sweatier.

    Sony was always pathetic at innovating in the video game market. I would say that Nintendo (and at one time, Sega) are (or were) the pioneers for decades. Anything Sony does that's not blatantly ripping Nintendo off, it's a stupid idea like this. Along with RIIIDGE RACER!!! And they're certainl

    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      I think Sony's thing is doing what they do well. They know how to create a great console and a great mix of games, something Nintendo can't seem to do. And PSN is great too, right up there with Live, and better than Live on the DRM front by far.
      • Why does DRM matter when Sony has already demonstrated that they'll sue you for revealing the root encryption key to allow things like homebrew games? No matter what, unfortunately these days DRM seems unavoidable. Meanwhile, I wouldn't trust Sony at all after the whole geohot lawsuit.

  • I'm amazed by the alleged intelligent people here not getting how amazing such a device would be. How else are you going to play a game like Japan's; "Bedtime Hide and Seek Tentacle Hentai Sexy Robot Extreme"?

    " You are getting warmer,... tee, hee. No, no, now you are getting colder. My robo-nipples cannot wait. tee hee."

  • My hands are getting sweaty! Can we go back and fight the ice dragon again?
  • Just in time for my line of disposable latex sleeves for Move controllers. You know, for people with sweaty hands.
  • Let me take this opportunity to publically declare the following ideas as prior art and therefore non-patentable by anyone.

    Applying electric shock to the user when they screw up, die, etc.

    Changing shape of the controller to simulate damage to vechicles being (poorly) commanded.

    Scratching or prickling the player with a sharp projection to hurt them in response to an on-screen attack of some kind.

    Projecting bright lights and or piercing sounds from the controller to anger or disorient the user.

    Strong gryos or

  • I don't think anyone tried to patent the "rumble" feedback. Here's another feedback. Is this really patentable?

    If so, I expect companies will rush out and file patents on making a controller emit audio to serve as a game feedback, making a controller flash LEDs to serve as a game feedback, making a controller give little electric shocks as a game feedback, etc. Basically just go down the list of possible stimuli and patent everything.

    P.S. In the novel Bug Park [baenebooks.com], people tele-operate micro-robots by VR tech

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      It would have taken you 10 whole seconds to google that and find out you are wrong. Yes, "rumble" feedback is patented, and Sony and Microsoft were both sued by Immersion for infringement of US patents 6,424,333 and 6,275,213. Nintendo was not sued because they used their own technology, patented in US patents 6,200,253 and 6,676,520.

      Of course these things are patentable, why wouldn't they be?

      You can't just 'go down the list and patent everything', you have to claim how you do it. And just because you co

      • by steveha (103154)

        It would have taken you 10 whole seconds to google that and find out you are wrong. Yes, "rumble" feedback is patented

        It sounds like your examples show that the basic idea of a rumble feedback isn't patented, but specific technology implementations are. I didn't mean to say that there were no patents on rumble mechanisms, only that there was no patent on the basic idea of rumbling. It doesn't sound like I am mistaken on this point.

        I have no problem with Sony patenting a specific implementation; I have a p

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