Sony resurrects the Nintendo Power Glove with new patent for PlayStation VR
On Thursday, February 25th, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. acquired a patent titled “Glove Interface Object”. As the name suggests, the patent describes an input method using an electronic glove, fitted with sensors designed to work with virtual reality, augmented reality or related applications.
According to the document there is a wide variety of applications envisioned by Sony, including some that may eventually enter in direct competitions with upcoming consumer VR technologies like Microsoft HoloLens.
Some of the embodiments of the wearable device, describe scenarios that range from gaming to real-life applications including the use of a head mounted display designed to communicate with the gloves and detect hand gestures with enough detail to recognize hand signs, such as “telephone”, “time out”, and other gestures involving the use of both hands.
Differently from the classic “Nintendo Power Glove”, this type of glove would actually come in pairs, with left and right gloves acting either independently, or in concert, for example when operating a virtual steering wheel and gear shift while playing a car racing game.
VR accessories could become more relevant in the future, especially if HoloLens is capable of appealing to gamers as the next generation gaming device. If that happens, Sony and Nintendo, among others, cannot afford to play catch-up, especially when head mounted devices like Microsoft HoloLens no longer suffer from drawbacks, like the reliance on wired, or wireless device tethering. By this token, this device also includes WiFi connectivity hardware, which makes sense within a network environment where multiple devices are being used simultaneously, for instance in multiplayer games, or during a videoconferencing session using virtual collaboration tools like a shared virtual whiteboard or other presentation tools.
With that said, as Sony is still nowhere near to what Microsoft has done with HoloLens, especially as Microsoft is a company with the sights set on enterprise customers, and with Sony primarily geared towards consumer products, as well as lacking a proper comprehensive ecosystem, like Windows 10, or iOS/Mac OS X, chances are that if this patent ever becomes a real product, the resulting device could even allow integration with existing VR and AR systems, including Microsoft HoloLens, as an accessory compatible with both PlayStation VR, HoloLens and even Oculus Rift.