Nintendo Files Patent for Eye-Tracking Device For 3D Viewing on Any Display

Nintendo is no slouch when it comes to filing wacky, often bizarre patents. A new patent recently filed by the Japanese game company reveals a device that would allow users to view 3D images on potentially any screen, even if those screens are not 3D-enabled.

The patent’s illustration (above) shows the potential for a wearable device working in tandem with a camera that sits on the top of the display. The device tracks the users movements. The images on the screen are adjusted in such a way that the user views them in 3D. The effect can be maintained even if the user moves around the room.

The patent also lists potential for even more immersive elements, including smell. Yes, smell. Here are some excerpts from the patent:

[0096] Augmented Reality. Some synthetic picture intermixed with the real world can be used. This is a quick and realistic possibility to e.g., project certain types of images such as robots or to play a chess game. If we can locate in the real world where a planar surface is, we could each look through this object and see the same virtual object augmented into the real world. A display that is 50% real world, 50% synthetic, with positioning techniques and way to possibly detect motion or position is possible.

[0100] Additionally, smell is a very strong sense. There may be some ways to produce aromas for a very strong experience.

[0101] Virtual wind could enhance the experience.

[0102] Temperature: blowing cool air on your face.

[0103] Physiologically comfortable stereo viewing is a way to prevent headaches. If you find a little spec on your windshield, focus on that and then far field and then back again. Eye strain happens quite quickly. Lots of folks in the past require the users to focus far field and close up, but this can cause headaches. We can stay on one side of the focal point cone, to provide higher level of comfort.

[0104] Detect Emotions via monitoring mental state. Brain wave detection, detect eye movement, heart rate monitor or the like can be used. If we provide goggles, we can also provide detectors (electrodes) fairly easily.

The patent entails of whole slew of possibilities. We’ll just have to wait and see if any of these technologies come to fruition.

My Opinion:

I always welcome the idea of new technologies and new immersion. I think the 3D effect on the 3DS brings some games to a whole new level (Pushmo, Super Mario 3D Land, etc.), so I’m excited to see what Nintendo can come up with for smell-o-vision. At least for some games. I’m pretty sure I don’t ever want to smell Wario. Like, ever.


Benjamin Luthi is a MONG editor, specializing in all things Nintendo. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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