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Sony Patents Gesture Based Controls for Vita

August 5, 2011 Written by Sebastian Moss

Sure, you can use the ten buttons, the two analog sticks, the two multitouch touch pads or the SixAxis to control the PlayStation Vita, but what if you don’t want to touch your lovely new handheld? You could use your voice, or you could simply wave your finger.

We’ve discovered a patent for gesture based controls for a Sony Computer Entertainment portable that has an inbuilt camera. Recently published, but filed back in 2009, SCEI’s patent allows for people to interact with the handheld using their finger.

The patent initially describes the problems of having a device that can only be interacted with by using buttons or a touchpad, saying that “it is not easy to give an instruction to the information processing apparatus in a situation in which it is not easy to operate an operating member.”

The “invention” aims to solve this problem by using the device’s inbuilt camera to track a user’s finger. Therefore, if you move your finger clockwise, the pointer on screen will move clockwise:

What’s more, the camera doesn’t simply track your finger – it also tracks the distance from the Vita/device. This means that your finger is tracked in a 3D space, allowing for full control and the ability to interact by jabbing at the screen:

While most of the patent focuses on using one finger, one drawing does show five fingertips being tracked, suggesting more is possible:

Another drawing also shows how the finger tracking could be used in the game:

It is important to point out that the Vita is never directly named, and that the patent might never become a reality – but would you interact with your Vita using gesture based controls? Let us know in the comments below.