Over the course of the year, we’ve been uncovering patent after patent from Sony Computer Entertainment for a 3D depth sensing camera similar to the Kinect. This month’s patent once again suggests that Sony are working on a camera akin to the Kinect, with this one highlighting how your fingers could be used like a gun.
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In Fig 7, moving the thumb fires the gun. The patent goes on to state:
For example, the user may be able to shoot by different hand gestures, may be able to reload the gun with different gestures, and the different positions or orientations of the user’s hand may cause different graphical renderings of the user or gun on the display screen when the user is interacting with a particular game program.
Microsoft’s best-selling Kinect can’t do proper finger tracking, so this camera would be superior – although rumors are that the Kinect 2 will feature finger tracking.
Interestingly, the patent also details how the camera could sense depth: sound location. The Kinect, and most depth sensing cameras, use infra-red to work out how far away the player is, but acoustic location could equally be used. Acoustic location was used in WWI and early WWII to detect incoming planes, before being replaced by the superior radar. One advantage of acoustic location is that it could potentially ‘see’ around corners due to sound refraction, something that infra-red can’t do – although that would depend on the precision of the device.