The camera described in the patent is said to use infrared to sense depth, and/or a twin-lens 3D camera to triangulate player position and build a detailed model of the players in front of the device. The camera is said to operate at 30fps, much like Kinect, however it uses a motion scaling device to smooth the input, much like that found in current televisions that operate at 120hz and above to smooth out video playback. The patent also mentions using a microphone array to hear in 3D, possibly even using ultrasonic devices to aid in motion detection.
Camera 300 can therefore provide the ability to capture and map the third-dimension in addition to normal two-dimensional video imagery. Similar to normal cameras, a depth camera captures two-dimensional data for a plurality of pixels that comprise the video image. These values are color values for the pixels, generally red, green, and blue (RGB) values for each pixel. In this manner, objects captured by the camera appear as two-dimension objects on a monitor. However, unlike a conventional camera, a depth camera also captures the z-components of the scene, which represent the depth values for the scene. Since the depth values are typically assigned to the z-axis, the depth values are often referred to as z-values.
In operation, a z-value may be captured for each pixel of the scene. Each z-value represents a distance from the camera to a particular object in the scene corresponding to the related pixel. In addition, a maximum detection range may be defined beyond which depth values will not be detected. This maximum range plane can be utilized by the embodiments of the present invention to provide user defined object tracking. Thus, using a depth camera, each object can be tracked in three dimensions. As a result, a computer system of the embodiments of the present invention can utilize the z-values, along with the two-dimensional pixel data, to create an enhanced three-dimensional interactive environment for the user. For more information on depth analysis, reference may be made to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/448,614, entitled System and Method for Providing a Real-time three dimensional interactive environment, having a filing date of May 29, 2003, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Then there was also the dual shocks which had an array of LED lights on the front for 3D tracking. It was also said that the controller could switch back and forth between different patterns on the lights in order to relay information to the console, such as one to identify which player you are and another to give the camera a reference box/arc to track.
While it is true that many patents never see the light of day, this still provides an idea of the types of things Sony is experimenting with for the PlayStation Move's successor. This along with the virtual reality games they say they have been experimenting with lately could provide quite an immersive experience. We will bring you all the latest details should Sony announce plans to bring any of these devices to the market.
More images from the patent can be seen below. View the entire patent here.
Credit to FantasyGhost for spotting this patent.