Sony has recently filed a patent that proposes a controller which can change shape and temperature in response to different games. The patent mentions an elastically deformable “elastic member” sensor that can detect when players touch, press, twist, pinch, squeeze, or rub the controller, and change the grips’ shape and hardness using a magnetic fluid mixed into the elastic member material. The patent states that the shape and hardness of the grips can change based on the game being played, allowing players to feel haptic sensations and temperature changes of virtual objects in the game space.
One interesting idea suggested by the patent is the use of thermoelectric heat pumps in the controller. Players could experience changes in temperature in response to in-game events, such as getting colder as they walk through snow in God of War or heating up when their character takes fire damage in a game. The temperature could even change depending on how much the user squeezes or deforms the controller.
Additionally, the patent suggests that parts or sections of the controller could be torn off and stuck back together again. Games would most likely need to be designed specifically to utilize this feature. While the fundamental shape and layout of the controller remain unchanged, the patent’s images reveal that this controller has the ability to bend, twist, alter its shape, and even change temperature. Furthermore, the controller can be taken apart and put back together.
While the patent is exciting, it’s important to remember that not all patents become actual products, and the cost of the controller, if it does become available, may be high. However, the possibilities of using such technology are endless, especially for racing or flight simulator games. The patent also suggests that the use of an elastically deformable material could be beneficial for individuals with disabilities.
While some may find this idea gimmicky, it opens up discussions about what the future of gaming inputs might look like, and how such technology could improve the overall gaming experience.