While we've all been getting mega-hyped for the PlayStation 5, Sony has been quietly working on new ideas for its virtual reality product, PSVR.
A patent the company filed back in '18 has just gone public, and it shows an interesting improvement on the existing PSVR controllers: finger tracking.
Much like the Valve Index, the controllers have buttons along one side with a bigger button at the top for your index finger, and "either an electrostatic sensor or an infrared sensor" to detect where your fingers are. The patent specifically mentions that it'll be able to detect bending and stretching fingers, and that it can detect not just the motion of your hand but individual digits.
The document, first spotted by 91Mobiles, goes into some detail about potential problems with different hand sizes, and asserts that it'd be useful if the wearer could adjust the distance between the sensors and their fingers to better fit their actual hand. Because we all know if that doesn't happen, they'll make the controllers for people with Giant Man Hands and women will be left straining their finger muscles like we did on Guitar Hero.
The device itself looks kinda like a Wiimote, with a similar shape and a hand strap. It doesn't look very ergonomic, which will be essential for long sessions, so we reckon the utilitarian shape is just to demonstrate the functionality for the patent. The real product would be more shapely, one would hope.
Sony is currently the only console company showing serious interest in VR. Nintendo of course had its VR-esque Labo headset where you could play Zelda while holding the Switch near your eyeballs until your arms gave out (no head straps for you!), but nothing major. Microsoft's Phil Spencer, meanwhile, has been making it clear that "nobody's asking for VR" and thus it won't be appearing in the Xbox Series X. Which brings to mind the famous Henry Ford quote, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
Spencer also said he doesn't consider Nintendo and Sony to be the Xbox's competitors – he's looking at Amazon and Google. So he probably won't be quaking in his boots if a new PSVR comes out.
The patent is certainly interesting, and it's good to know Sony still has its eye (lol) on VR, but as ever there's no knowing whether the device in the documents will ever actually happen, or if PSVR 2 is really on the way. We shall see. [T3]
All images: WIPO