Sony Patents Hand-Tracking Technology for VR

Since the reveal that Sony are indeed working on a successor to the PlayStation 4, there has been a great deal of speculation on if the company are intending on continuing with virtual reality (VR) for the new console. A new patent filed by Sony suggests that the future of VR for Sony will involve hand-tracking.

Though for the most part the PlayStation VR has been positively received by users, one of the most criticised elements of the set-up has been the PlayStation Move controllers, and the new patent would ditch the controllers entirely and see players controlling VR using just their hands.

PlayStation Move

The patent, published on 11th October, 2018, is titled ‘Gaming Device With Rotatably Placed Cameras’. The patent was looked at more closely as analysts and fans began speculation on what shape the ‘PlayStation 5’ might take.

The specifics of the patent describes a system which can identify fingers on a hand by using devices mounted on each wrist, similar to a wristwatch or fitness tracker, which transmits infrared light. Cameras on the headset can pick up this light, while cameras on the wrist device identify the location and position of the fingers.

This would create an inside-out tracking system, which would replace the urrent tracking method used by the PlayStation VR, which uses a two-lens camera to track the headset, Dual Shock 4 controller and PlayStation Move controllers.

The patent also mentions the potential for trackers mounted on the ankles, which could incorporate foot tracking, which has potential for games such as FIFA, or martial-arts themed titles. There is also a suggestion that wireless transmission could be incorporated, which would allow users to enjoy VR untethered.

The idea that Sony has been working on this kind of ‘daisy chain’ method for tracking has been mentioned before, and patents had previously surfaced for new controllers which utilised individual finger tracking. Only time will tell what Sony does with this technology, but VRFocus will be sure to keep reporting on it.