Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sony Pulls a Magic Wand out of their...

Sony filed for a patent in December of 2004 covering what appears to be a wand similar to the Revolution controller.

Abstract: An input device for interfacing with a computing device is provided. The input device includes a body configured to be held within a human hand. The input device includes a light emitting diode (LED) affixed to the body and a power supply for the LED. A mode change activator is integrated into the body, where the mode change activator is configured to cause a change of a color of a light originating from the LED. The color change is capable of being detected to cause a mode change at the computing device. Methods for detecting input commands from an input source within a field of sight of an image capture device, and a computing system which includes the input device are provided

Though it may appear that the two devices are similar, they are in reality quite different. Sony's seems more like an accessory to the Eye Toy rather than a fully integrated controller like Nintendo's. There is no mention of tilt sensing, orientation in 3D space, or a port for modular attachments. Along with the changing LED colors scheme, I'd say this device is actually quite unsophisticated in comparison. I doubt it will be capable of responding to the flick of a wrist like the Revo Wand.

This doesn't mean that Sony couldn't use this to their advantage. Even if Sony can't match the precision and response of the Revo Wand, they could win public perception points. Misinformation runs wild on the net, and this news is no different. I suggest reading user comments at joystiq, and also this inquirer article, to see what I mean.