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Nintendo Employee Files Patent For Clip-On Controllers Similar To NX Rumors

by Mike Futter on Aug 11, 2016 at 08:45 AM

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Nintendo is remaining mum for now on what we can expect from the NX. However, multiple hints have emerged that the console is a hybrid portable device that uses cartridges and will connect to televisions.

The latest bit of information supporting that theory, is a patent filing that shows controller add-ons for a portable device. What’s curious is that these peripherals wouldn’t work through electrical signals. Rather they would use infrared to detect button presses.

The camera in the portable housing would be able to sense default and depressed positions for the buttons. Each of the surface buttons would be connected to a piece that has a bit that can be detected by the infrared camera. Different positions sensed by the camera would then be translated into inputs similar to how standard, circuit-based controllers work now.

Fumihiko Inoue, one of the inventors and the person that submitted the patent, is part of Nintendo’s Development Engineering Department. The document was filed in January and published today.

Other patents have also come to light. These appear to be for a similar portable device that includes gesture tracking via the same side-facing infrared camera that would support gamepad add-ons.

We’ve reached out to Nintendo for any comment on these patents. We’ll update should we receive a response. 

Nintendo’s next console, being developed under the name “NX”, is due out in 2017.

[Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office via NeoGAF]


Our Take
It’s important to note that patent drawings often do not resemble the final product. It also bears mentioning that patents do not always have a direct correlation with products in development. There is no guarantee Nintendo will make use of this for the NX or any other future project.

Patent for infrared controller attachment by GameInformerMike on Scribd