Like many big tech companies, Sony is very active on the patent front, filing patent applications for a whole host of ideas. A logic that many companies adopt, and which are as likely to be at the center of a new innovation as to end up in the closet of good ideas that never materialize. An elephant graveyard that casually gives you an idea of the final product that the Japanese firm seeks to design. The opportunity to take a tour of the patents made in Sony which are just waiting for implementation to shine. Even though the PSVR 2 is not ready to go out after Jim Ryan (CEO of Playstation), the teams seem to be working hard to produce the possible future of VR headsets. As proof of the numerous patents highlighted by our colleagues at Gamesindustry, which demonstrate the potential of the future Sony product.
It is no secret that the PSVR is an archi-competitive helmet in terms of price. A quality that the Japanese firm wants to keep, which could explain the possible arrival of thermal sensors in its next VR project. Indeed, the basic idea being to follow the movements of the players in a restricted environment, the company would have first thought of cameras, before realizing that it could cost the equivalent of a kidney, and of switch to the equally qualitative but less expensive solution that a set of thermal beacons could provide.
To function, these would be configured to “understand” only the signals coming from a network of thermopiles placed on the player. An idea taken from a recent patent (2019) which would therefore allow a spatial transcription of the player, transforming your living room into a real playground.
Research around thermal sensors that echo an idea from 2013 around a “temperature feedback motion controller” that looks like a motion controller therefore, with integrated thermoelectric heating and cooling systems, so that ‘a game can track where the user’s hands are supposed to be in the game environment and warm or cool them accordingly.
- Bringing new senses to video games
Confined to sight and hearing, the video game is just beginning its groundwork on the integration of touch, with the haptic triggers of the PS5 as the latest innovation. A lack that could be filled by PSVR 2 thanks to the 2016 patent for a “temperature controlled helmet”, which would incorporate heating elements allowing players, for example, to “receive the heat of a fireball or feel the heat of the sun during the virtual transition from ‘an indoor environment to an outdoor environment ”.
An integration of smell is also being considered as a possibility with two patents dating from 2016 and 2018, which would allow the airflow in the helmet to be used to help guide players to specific places in the game, potentially. enhanced by a scent emitter to allow players to smell their environment in the game. A “scent presentation device” is provided to clear the air between scents and prevent odors from lingering longer than they are. would not be desired.
A reflection from Sony has interested us a lot, and concerns the safety of players, possibly undermined with so much technology subject to destabilization. Indeed, the Japanese firm would have thought about a VR headset that would monitor the temperature, the heart rate, the dilation of the pupils, and the movements of the user to determine if he is in a pathological state (epileptic seizure, stroke heart attack, stroke, panic attack) and perform a series of actions that the user would have preset in the event of such an event.
While it’s laudable that Sony is considering using it for the benefit of gamers, getting such a system to work requires a frankly terrifying amount of personal information to be regularly monitored by someone who isn’t your doctor, and leaving us therefore puzzled about the interest of such a technology.
Much work has been done by Sony in recent years to design an innovative gaming experience, and much will be to come as well. No doubt the next Playstation VR headset will be top-notch.