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Sony Patents Motion Control System, Uses Objects as Controllers

200°
270w ago - We saw Sony unveil an LED wand during their E3 press conference.

The device in conjunction with an EyeToy camera brought motion control to the PlayStation 3. In addition to that Sony developed another motion control system that uses everyday objects.

A recently published patent from Sony details a system where a camera can dynamically map an object – any real world object – for use in a video game.

To quote: The illustration has a U shape block, but the patent outlines other example objects "include items such as coffee mugs, drinking glasses, books, bottles, etc." While these are given as examples the object mapping system is not limited to those objects, it can identify any three dimensional object.

Before using an object like the U shaped block the camera captures has to capture it. Figure 2 explains the system where players show the object, rotate it, and save a profile for it in a file. The system then analyzes movements and translates them into in game actions.

Below are some examples of how Sony could use this technology. The "virtual world light sword" in figure 3B is particularly interesting. When a player holds the U-shaped block up the...
 

Microsoft Patents 'Magic Wand' Motion Controller

50°
276w ago - An application was filed in 2007 for a motion controller, dubbed Magic Wand, that interacts with "a collection of sensors".

Microsoft says it will not "comment on speculation" about a possible launch.

Gavin Ogden, from gaming site CVG, told the BBC that Microsoft needed to "jump on the motion sensor bandwagon".

"We thought they were going to show something off at the E3 Expo in 2007 - some sort of waggle stick - but nothing materialised," he said.

"I have no doubt they are going to try and do something, although it remains to be seen how they do it."

The patent application also describes "biometric sensors" that would examine "fingerprint, hand geometry, hand vein pattern, palm pattern, and grip configuration" along with "facial thermogram, a facial feature, a retinal feature, or an iris feature".

"There was talk, a long time ago, about mapping people's faces on to characters," said Mr Ogden.

"However, there were concerns that people would stick real faces on it - such as Gordon Brown - and then spend all day shooting them. The world wasn't ready for that."

At the beginning of May, Microsoft's boss, Steve Ballmer, gave a speech to the Dallas Regional Chamber and was quoted as saying: "Pay attention to the stuff we're announcing...
 

Microsoft Sued Over Patents on XBox Console and Halo Games

50°
286w ago - Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, should pay a New York company $90 million for using its inventions in the Xbox video-game system, a lawyer told a federal jury yesterday.

To quote: PalTalk Holdings Inc. says Halo games and the Xbox console on which they are played infringe two patents for inventions developed by MPath Interactive Inc. PalTalk bought the patents for less than $200,000, Microsoft lawyer David Pritikin said.

The trial in Marshall, Texas, centers on technology for ways to control interactive applications over multiple computers. MPath was "a pioneer in the online video industry in the area of real-time, multiplayer online games," PalTalk lawyer Max Tribble told the jury.

"Microsoft had many meetings with MPath regarding their technology, and Microsoft found the technology to be very valuable," he said.

Microsoft said it did review the inventions and chose a different path in developing its games. The technology is for an older dial-up method of communicating between computers and "the patents don't cover the way the Halo games work," Pritikin said.

Microsoft also is challenging the validity of the PalTalk patents and told the jury that, even if it agrees with PalTalk, "the patents aren't worth much, certainly not $90 million."
 

Sony files Hand-held Touchscreen & Digital Tactile Pixels Patents

50°
322w ago - Panajev2001a posted on NeoGAF (linked above) that Sony was recently granted a patent for what many think could be the next PSP or PSP phone. The [Register or Login to view links] is for a 'hand-held device with touchscreen and digital tactile pixels'.

The patent application states that the device could be used as a "game device, phone, portable media player, email device, Web browser device or navigation device."

Another patent was granted for a "data-transfer using hand-held device." The device would be able to "recognize a remote device from a signal generated by the remote device detector, recognize a gesture from a signal generated by the case motion sensor as a result of motion of the case; and transfer a file with the file transfer device from the memory to the remote device or vice versa in response to recognition of the gesture."

To cite: HAND-HELD DEVICE...
 

Adams: Game Patents Will 'Terrorize Us Into Mediocrity'

50°
339w ago - As part of a longer opinion piece published on Gamasutra today, designer and educator Ernest Adams has taken a strong stance against patenting video games, suggesting that the entire concept is flawed and encourages "patent trolls".

Explaining his argument into why patenting gameplay concepts - something done by major companies from Namco Bandai to Midway and beyond - is bad, he suggests:

"The US Patent and Trademark Office has taken a much more vague approach to determining what may or may not be patented. Its guidelines for patent examiners requires that the invention produce a concrete, useful, and tangible result, and gameplay patents are being allowed.

I assert that the very definition of a game precludes its gameplay from constituting a concrete, useful, and tangible result. A game takes place in a pretended reality -- the magic circle. Its mechanics are not concrete, useful or tangible; they are make-believe.

We may choose to place a real-world significance on them, as when we bet on the outcome or give prizes to the winners. But this significance is arbitrary, because games themselves are arbitrary -- that's why they're games. The creator of the game can change the rules at any time.

In short, because they are arbitrary, game rules are not machines or processes...
 
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