Monday 12-Jun-2006 11:50 AM Foldable handhelds, phones and squidgy controllers in the works according to new patent
While Sony may have ditched its force feedback DualShock controller for this generation of home consoles with the PS3, it seems the company is hard at work on an invetion which has the potential to offer a whole new kind of feedback while playing games.
According to a patent uncovered by Barry Fox over at the New Scientist website, Sony is researching a way of squeezing bulky electronics device - like portable consoles, phones and handheld computers - into pocket-sized spaces.
Fox summarises Sony's research saying, "The body and screen of folding gadgets would be made from a flexible polymer containing conductive rubber bracing struts filled with a gel of aluminosilicate particles suspended in silicone oil.
When a current is passed through the struts, the particles clump together and harden the gel, making the gadget solid enough to use. Sony has found that it would take very little power to make such a folding device harden, so the drain on its battery should be low."
Alongside potential uses for handhelds, it seems Sony also envisages the technology may have applications in home console controllers too, by affecting the shape or texture of your input device based on on-screen actions. The patent divulges that, "The electrorheological fluid device can be applied to, for example, part of a controller of a home-use game machine as another example of the electronic apparatus of the present invention. A user touches a control section of the controller by fingers, and the feeling of touch is controlled by the electrorheological fluid device."
For example, if a game player is defeated in a fighting game, the electrorheological fluid device is controlled to become soft in order to improve the realistic sensations in the game."
Folding consoles? Whatever will they think of next?
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