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Sony Patents Kinect-Like 3D Depth-Sensing Camera for PlayStation Consoles

February 20, 2012 Written by Sebastian Moss

It’s no secret that the Kinect is outselling the PlayStation Move by quite a fair margin, so Sony may be looking to come out with their own Kinect competitor that can actually sense depth and track subtle movements where the PS Eye cannot. A newly published patent has revealed that the company has begun work on a new 3D camera that could potentially be a part of the PlayStation 4.

Only just published, what’s most interesting about the patent is that is was originally filed last October – a full year after the Kinect launched and broke Guinness World Records for sales. Sony previously admitted they had looked into 3D cameras long before the Kinect was a reality, but decided against it in favor of a button-based peripheral – the PS Move. However, now that Move and PS Eye-creator Dr Richard Marks has published the new patent, it does certainly suggest that the company has once again started to look into such a system.

The patent says:

An invention is provided for affording a real-time three-dimensional interactive environment using a depth sensing device. The invention includes obtaining depth values indicating distances from one or more physical objects in a physical scene to a depth sensing device.

Continuing (emphasis added):

A system for providing a real-time three-dimensional interactive environment, comprising: a depth sensing device capable of obtaining depth values indicating distances from one or more physical objects in a physical scene to a depth sensing device…

The patent also suggests that the camera would use a system similar to the Kinect’s, where it sprays out infared to determine depth (watch this cool vid to see how):

wherein the depth sensing device is a depth camera using controlled infrared lighting

Along with the patent, some drawings were also included that show how depth would be recognized:

A Kinect-like camera for the PlayStation 4 would make a lot of sense – it’s too late to try to introduce another camera this gen, but with Microsoft sure to have a next-gen Kinect, Sony will need something to be able to compete against them with – which is why we included it on our PS4 Wishlist.

Would you like a PlayStation Kinect? Let us know in the comments below.

wherein the depth sensing device is a depth camera using controlled infrared lighting