A new Samsung patent that has now come to light (originally filed in Dec, 2016) looks to showcase its concept for a new type of controller that seems purpose-designed with VR in mind. What is quite interesting about these controllers, is not actually the controller itself, but the method in which they communicate with the corresponding equipment, for example a VR headset. This is due to the controllers making use of magnetic fields for a more accurate reading, and by association, more accurate tracking and positioning.
The patent includes a few examples of how this will work and by the looks of it, Samsung might be thinking of these controllers beyond just VR, essentially allowing the controllers to connect to other devices too. In terms of VR though, the patent describes a VR headset (like a future Gear VR) which comes equipped with a ‘source’ device. This source is somewhat independent of current VR hardware (although it can be attached or incorporated) and is what will emit the magnetic field in the first place. The controller is then effectively picked up by the emitted magnetic field and its distance and proximity calculated and fed back into the system.
However, another concept image included in the patent (shown below) goes further and seems to suggest the possibility of a user interacting with a TV in much the same way. The difference here is that the user is not wearing a VR headset and instead, the ‘source’ emitting the magnetic field and the “VR providing device” come in the form of a small attachment which can be placed elsewhere. The image in particular shows it positioned within the back pocket of the user. The user then interacts with the visual aspects displayed on the screen. While it is clear that in the short term Samsung is looking at this as an improvement to the VR experience, the patent does also clearly state that it could be used for “another embodiment,” and presumably not just limited to the one shown below. Of course, this is only a patent at the moment. Which is not necessarily a guarantee that it is coming to market, or even in development.