Patent applications can be very interesting to peruse as they often foreshadow advanced technology that will appear in future devices.
Then again, patent applications may also be little more than an exercise in design, as well as an attempt to lock up any technology that might be worth money in terms of future licensing fees. Case in point - a Sony patent application that recently tipped up for a rather strange looking controller.
The Sony patent application is titled "Input device, system and method." The artwork included with the patent application depicts a flat device that looks like a tablet with gaming controls on each side. The application describes the controller as having a six-axis motion sensor, joystick controls, and illuminated edges. The application also notes that the illuminated edges "provide a similar functionality to that of the illuminated ball of the PlayStation move."
Meaning, not only would users of controller be able to play with standard joysticks, buttons, and even the touch control surface, gamers could hold the device for motion controlled gaming, perhaps with a pair of stereoscopic cameras
The patent application says the stereoscopic cameras are "of a type typically found in mobile phones and other compact devices" and would be located at the end of the touch surface. The cameras allow the touch surface of the controller to create depth maps, raising the possibility that the controller will be capable of recognizing physical objects and incorporating them into games.
The patent application also confirms the device could be used with existing controllers for "systems or entertainment devices such as the PlayStation 3." The patent application and all the talk of PlayStation 4 controllers over the last few months makes me wonder if perhaps we might see something like the above-mentioned device packaged with the PS4 when it launches later this year.