Sony Patents a Way to Turn Anything Into a Controller..Even Bananas

A patent filed by Sony says you can turn any inanimate object into a game controller for Sony's future consoles and devices.

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Sony PS5 DualSense controller unboxed by Austin Evans

Ever had a moment when there are just too many people wanting to play a game but not enough controllers? Well, Sony may have a novel solution to that. The company has registered a patent, first spotted by GamesIndustry.biz, which can turn almost any inanimate object into a game controller. “The system comprises an input unit operable to obtain images of a passive non-luminous object being held by a user as a video games controller. The system also comprises an object detector and object pose detector for detecting the object and its respective pose in the obtained images,” the patent says.

According to the patent, you can literally hold a banana in your hand and start playing a game with it. A camera will overlay the buttons on the controller and have you use it just like you would with the company’s regular controllers. “It would be desirable if a user could use an inexpensive, simple, and non-electronic device as a video game peripheral,” the patent says. Sony’s examples in the patent include oranges, bananas “or other inanimate objects” to use them as analog sticks. Since a camera is involved, this may be meant for the company’s virtual reality (VR) headsets.

The idea is to cut the entry barriers to gaming devices, which might bring more gamers to the company. “Most video game consoles come with at least one controller and for some players, this may be the only controller in their possession. As will be appreciated, a limited number of peripherals may limit a player’s ability to access all of a video game’s features (e.g. multiplayer, VR, etc.). Even if a player is in possession of multiple peripherals, each of these may need to be charged regularly in order to be usable,” says the patent.

While a patent doesn’t necessarily confirm that such a thing will happen in the near future, it does sound like an interesting idea. Using a banana might sound funny, but it could actually be really useful for mixed reality (MR) devices, which usually include a headset too. Having inanimate objects would be especially useful for wireless VR and MR gaming.


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