Nintendo has long been a company with a reputation for pushing hardware innovation more than other console developers. The Wii, Wii U, and Switch all incorporated new technology, and a new patent filed by Nintendo suggests that the company is still actively developing new ideas to bring to future devices.
On the 13th of April, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a new patent application which had been filed by Nintendo. The newly-revealed documents detail designs for a game system that comes equipped with “a plurality of information processing apparatuses that are capable of communicating with each other.”
The apparatuses described by the patent are in fact separate touch-sensitive screens. While having multiple screens is nothing new for Nintendo – the DS line of handheld consoles all feature a pair of screens, for example – what distinguishes this new patent design from previous devices is that the screens appear to be so closely linked that something can be moved from one to the other without the console losing track of it. The design, while different from existing technology, is certainly less outlandish than some of Nintendo’s other recent patents, which included walking robots.
The patent documents clearly show an example of a fingertip being dragged across from one screen to the other, and also of objects on the screens transitioning from one to the other while taking into account a gap between the two devices. Illustrations of a bowling-style game even appear to show an on-screen object gaining momentum when one of the screens is tilted, causing it to travel onto the second screen where the bowling pins are located.
While Nintendo has a history of filing unusual patents, last year the company lost a patent lawsuit filed against them for infringing on another company’s patents with the design of the Nintendo Wii’s remote controller. Considering that recent loss, the company may well be going to extra lengths to make its patents clearly available well in advance of any practical application, so as to avoid any further damaging lawsuits.
With the Nintendo Switch still selling extraordinarily well, and projections for sales in the 2018 financial year also expected to be strong, it seems unlikely that Nintendo will be unveiling any new hardware soon. Nothing has yet been announced concerning their unusual robotics patent either, and certainly, simply because the design has been patented does not mean that it will definitely be used as a feature in a future console. However, given the similarities between the designs and the Nintendo 3DS family of consoles, this could well be a feature planned for a future iteration of Nintendo’s handheld consoles.
Source: Digital Trends