SCE Patents Depth Sensing Camera: Use Your Fingers as a Gun!

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Over the course of the year, we’ve been uncovering patent after patent from Sony Computer Entertainment for a 3D depth sensing camera similar to the Kinect. This month’s patent once again suggests that Sony are working on a camera akin to the Kinect, with this one highlighting how your fingers could be used like a gun.

In Fig 7, moving the thumb fires the gun. The patent goes on to state:

For example, the user may be able to shoot by different hand gestures, may be able to reload the gun with different gestures, and the different positions or orientations of the user’s hand may cause different graphical renderings of the user or gun on the display screen when the user is interacting with a particular game program.

Microsoft’s best-selling Kinect can’t do proper finger tracking, so this camera would be superior – although rumors are that the Kinect 2 will feature finger tracking.

Interestingly, the patent also details how the camera could sense depth: sound location. The Kinect, and most depth sensing cameras, use infra-red to work out how far away the player is, but acoustic location could equally be used. Acoustic location was used in WWI and early WWII to detect incoming planes, before being replaced by the superior radar. One advantage of acoustic location is that it could potentially ‘see’ around corners due to sound refraction, something that infra-red can’t do – although that would depend on the precision of the device.

Would you like to use your fingers as a gun, or do you love buttons too much? Let us know in the comments below.


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This thread can be entertaining.

Uhhhh I dunno what to think of this...

looks like a defensive patent.

They have one similar that uses sonar. Which from that sounds of it both would be superior to Kinect.

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i have the feeling next gen will bring us a patent war like apple vs. samsung "hey you have finger tracking for both next gen consoles but only on ps4 you can use your fingers to shoot and only on nextbox you can expect games using your fist to punsh someone because microsoft has the fist patented"

As I've said many times, large companies are patenting anything they can think of in case they ever decide to use it; and it is not necessarily a sign that they will ever actually implement what is in the patent.

With that said, between the rumours of Kinect 2 and this I wonder how central these devices will be to Sony and Microsoft's strategy in the upcoming generation. Will they bundle these systems or leave them as add-ons? If they bundle them will their systems be more expensive or less powerful? If they don't bundle them how will they encourage third party support for these devices?

Beyond that, part of the reason for Nintendo's success was that there was an asymmetry in the market where Nintendo used one strategy while their two competitors used another. If Sony and Microsoft are following such a similar strategy, won't that preserve the asymmetry (potentially) to Nintendo's benefit.

Playstation Eye 3D Move Edition to be bundle with PS4

Sony needs to really do things which neither Microsoft nor Nintendo are doing. Nintendo did Wiimote so they did Move, Nintendo does SSBB so they did PSAS, Nintendo does Mario Kart so they did LBK and Nintendo has Mario so they tried to make Sack-boy a mascot.

@ Happy Squirrel I would say Microsoft will push Kinect 2.0 as a point of uniqueness and leverage their networks and software/OS talents to make the Nextbox stand out whilst using things like Smartglass to ape Nintendo's Wuu Pad.


4 ≈ One