A couple of new patents from Sony Interactive Entertainment have now been spotted which appear to indicate that the company has been working on a couple of new improvements for motion controls. The first patent was filed in the middle of last year and published January 11 under IP Force Patent Number 2018-735. It shows a handheld input device which bears some similarity to its previously released Move-branded controllers. According to the filing, the patent is for vertically-held input devices that are capable of providing enhanced tactile feedback via minute flexing of the controller's grip.
That's accomplished through gears placed under the grip, which expand and contract the grip as they turn inward or outward. Judging by the analog control stick and the array of buttons found in the patent images, it stands to reason that the controller is intended for use with Sony's game console, either as a standalone or in conjunction with its PlayStation VR platform. The second patent goes a completely different direction with motion control and is from back in 2015 – but was also only published as of January 11, under IP Force Patent Number 2018-500674. While the current iteration of Sony's VR gaming platform requires Sony Move to track hand placement, the new patent suggests tracking that is accurate enough to follow individual finger placement. The patent describes the technology as using light emitters mounted on the head-mounted display which will both send and receive light as a means to triangulate finger position. It isn't immediately clear how Sony would incorporate that since the patent could either point to camera sensors or to the more complex sensor arrays.
Regardless, implementing the change would almost certainly require an entirely new headset, or at very least an accessory to the company's current VR offering. However, that may very well be worth it since the ability to track individual finger placement could result in substantial improvements to the overall immersion that is possible with the platform. Of course, it goes almost without saying that there is no guarantee that either of these patents will ultimately end up being used by Sony. Having said that, it is interesting to catch a glimpse of where Sony would like to go with its immersive gaming platform and to see what ideas it is already putting up for consideration.