Weird U-Shaped Controller Patented Possibly For Nintendo NX, Dated To Release In 2017

A new controller patent was recently filed by Nintendo. Is this another weird contraption for the Wii U, or is this the first real step into the Nintendo NX?

Some people, believe it or not, spend their free time digging around the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). And thanks to these people, we found a new patent filed by Nintendo, which looks like the new controller for one of its gaming consoles. First put into the spotlight by NeoGAF member Rösti, the new controller patent filed by Nintendo looks like a new bizarre-looking contraption that will be great as a health or fitness game device.

New Nintendo NX controller (via WIPO)

Entitled, “Training Implement, Training System, and Input Device” at the WIPO, the controller was first filed on October 16, 2014, by Nintendo Co., Ltd. It saw an international filing on September 18, 2015, and finally, last April 22, the patent was published at the WIPO.

Since the patent was filed in Japanese, only a few details can be extracted and even a smaller amount of information could be translated into English. The Nintendo invention/patent, apparently, is some form of exercise controller and/or system built with sensors that detect load, acceleration, gyro, and temperature. The inventors of the leaked Nintendo controller listed on the WIPO are Kuroda Ryoji (someone who has more than 10 patents with Nintendo, mostly related to the Wii Remote), Yamamoto Shinji (has more than five patents with Nintendo, most related to controllers), and Yamada Yoshito (no known connections with Nintendo yet).

NeoGAF member Rösti struggled to translate the information regarding the new Nintendo controller to English and provided the following description.

“A training implement comprises a hollow body formed from an aluminum alloy. The body is configured from two grips provided facing each other across a space, and a connecting section connecting the two grips. A load sensor is disposed in the connecting section inside the body. The load sensor is a load cell, the strain gauge is bonded on the inside of the body, and the portion of the body to which the strain gauge is bonded functions as a strain element. Consequently, when a user applies force so as to bring the two grips towards each other or applies force so as to separate the two grips, the load thereof is detected by the load sensor.”

This means that there is a load sensor between the two upright sections of the “U,” implying that the Nintendo controller could be squeezed like a grip strengthener. Also according to the extensive diagrams included in the filed patent, it includes temperature sensors with depictions of the device designed in conjunction with a balance ball.

Gripping mechanism illustrated (via WIPO)
Diagrams related to the U-shaped controller (via WIPO)

There are two things we can expect from this Nintendo patent. One, is that given its shape, it may be a literal Wii U controller. How can you not take the pun with this one? Wii U is still struggling in the market, targeting mostly a niche market that turns to gaming consoles for fitness and exercise programs, and this new U-shaped controller may be one of their additions to their fitness advocacy.

Illustrations of the new training system (via WIPO)

Two, this could finally be a first step into the Nintendo NX line. Nintendo NX was finally given a date, according to the latest financial earnings call by Nintendo.

According to Polygon, the company announced, “For our dedicated video game platform business, Nintendo is currently developing a gaming platform codenamed ‘NX’ with a brand-new concept. NX will be launched in March 2017 globally.”

Nintendo did say before that it will not delve into the specifics of the Nintendo NX until 2016, which explains why there is little to no news about the upcoming Nintendo NX until now. But even though Nintendo is adamant that no Nintendo NX news will be coming out in the E3 2016, we can only look forward to the upcoming NX device, which Nintendo fans hope can spring Nintendo back into the gaming console competition. With the lead of Sony and Microsoft with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, respectively, Nintendo is going to need every last bullet it has to be able to get back on the battlefield—even if it means filing bizarre patents such as the U-shaped controller.

[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]