OK. My mind is blown. Sony published a patent this week for a video game controller that heats up or cools down as you're playing a game. It sounds kind of dangerous. And it sounds kind of awesome.
You can read the patent application here and gawk at all the patent imagery, but let me summarize some of the
coolest (sorry) hottest (still sorry) ideas in the patent. They're written in patent-ese, but you won't have trouble figuring them out. Basically, the Move wand has bands around it that get hotter or colder depending on things that happen in a PS3 game or application. For example...
In one embodiment, a user controls the firing of a weapon in a video game. As the weapon is repeatedly fired, the weapon may heat up and the controller may exhibit increasing heat feedback to communicate this fact to the user. At a certain point, the weapon may become inoperable, and the user must then wait for the weapon to cool off before firing the weapon again. This can likewise be indicated to the user by reducing the level of heat feedback or actively cooling the controller. It will also be noted that the controller may exhibit lighted feedback in conjunction with the thermal feedback. For example, as the weapon heats up, the controller light may change from a cooler color to a warmer color, such as from blue or green to orange or red. Similarly, when the weapon cools down, the color exhibited may revert to the cooler color.
In one embodiment, the user may control a character engaged in battle. When the character is hit by enemy fire or an explosion or the damaging-causing incident, the controller may exhibit a thermal grill illusion. In one embodiment, a thermal grill illusion is provided at the controller when the user's character receives an electric shock.
In one embodiment, a user utilizes a controller to discover the presence of objects that are not visible on screen or otherwise known to the user. The user maneuvers the controller about his or her interactive environment, and receives thermal feedback, such as heating or cooling, indicating the presence of an object.
In one embodiment, when the interactive application detects a decrease in galvanic skin resistance (GSR), possibly indicating that the user's hands are sweating, then the interactive application could initiate a cooling feedback at the controller.
I've asked Sony PR if this is a real thing that's going to come to market. I'll update if they have comment. UPDATE: A rep says they have nothing to share. Bummer.
Thanks to friend of Kotaku James Pikover for the tip. Oh, and Sony, please make this.
United States Application US20120258800 [Free Patents Online]