Game systems that rely on gesture recognition for data input carry a potential for a player to unintentionally collide with surrounding objects.
Intel has an idea to prevent objects from being damaged and players from being hurt. The company was just granted a patent that envisions proximity sensors to be built into game consoles that would trigger an alert or a game to be interrupted when a player may be too close to an object. From the patent:
"The gaming console may use the images of the full body movement and the images of the surrounding objects to determine if the user is close to the surrounding objects, which may cause collision with the surrounding objects. If the user is close to the surrounding objects, the gaming console may generate alert signals that may avoid or minimize the probability of collision of the user with the surrounding objects."
The patent was filed somewhat late, in March 2011, but was granted quickly in December 2012. The patent consists of hardware and software claims, where the hardware covers:
- a first set of sensors [that] continuously capture the first images of the body movement of the player
- a first set of sensors [includes] a camera to capture the first images of the body movement of the player
- a first set of sensors [that includes] a depth sensor to capture depth value of the first images of the body movement of the player
- a second set of sensors [that captures] the second images of the objects surrounding the player at regular intervals of time
- a first processor to determine proximity values based on a plurality of first position values and a plurality of second position values
- a first processor [to] generate an alert signal and pause signal if the proximity values are within the threshold values
- a second processor coupled to the first processor, wherein the second processor is to pause the game in response to receiving the pause signal
It would be unreasonable to conclude that Intel is suddenly interested in the video game console business. However, if we remember that Intel's core business intent is to sell more micro chips every year, then such patents make complete sense for the company.