Mario’s in Your Hands: Nintendo Switch May Have Image Projection, According to Patents

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If Nintendo’s patents are any indication of what we can expect from the recently-announced Nintendo Switch, then the console will have nearly all the bells and whistles of any decent tablet released in the past few years. This includes features like GPS, a gyroscope, touchscreen, image tracking, and more. Most interestingly, however, would be another potential feature: image projection. According to a patent filing by Nintendo, on one side of the Switch there’s an infrared camera, infrared emitter and projector, and a light-emitting distance measuring sensor.

These tools would enable the Switch to not only project images onto your hand or other nearby surfaces, but it would also allow you to apparently control the Switch using gestures and motion controls. Looking at the diagrams within the patent filing can help illuminate just what I’m talking about.

As many have noted before, and as I reiterate here, the simple act of filing a patent for something doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be present on the final product. Thus far, though, the patent filings have been for accurate for the most part, and something as “out there” as image projection and motion control would certainly be “on brand” for Nintendo’s console development trend. It would certainly pose some interesting questions game design-wise, and would “break the fourth wall” so to speak in ways that Nintendo has otherwise done before.

All told, I’m not sure if this will get me to pick up a Switch, but who knows. If the right game comes along that makes use of this possible technology, anything can happen I suppose.

(via Polygon, image via Nintendo)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.