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Sony patent details the 'EyePad,' a tablet controller with stereoscopic cameras

14 February 2013

Internet sleuths have unearthed a patent filed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in July 2012 for the "PlayStation EyePad," a tablet controller that can create virtual buttons via stereoscopic 3D.

The device is detailed in patent documentation available at freepatentsonline.com, which clearly shows an illustration of the tablet and outlines some of its features. The tablet's physical design is reminiscent of the Wii U Gamepad, but a few key differences are noted. The controller supposedly contains one or more motion sensors and two stereoscopic cameras that can generate a depth map for objects in view of the first camera. The patent goes on to describe applications for gaming; rather than interface with the touchscreen directly, users could use finger swipes, gestures, and the like to interact with games as the tablet cameras make inputs out of these movements.

The patent's extensive notes also detail how other input devices - PlayStation Vita, a light gun, a dance mat, etc. - could be used in conjunction with the EyePad. Strangely, much of the info on how the EyePad could theoretically function specifically references its compatibility with PlayStation 3. One example appears on page 5, where Sony states that the EyePad's spatial position and distance from the console could be determined by the EyeToy camera, which would register an illuminated region on the tablet (Strangely, EyeToy was the name given to the PlayStation 2's iteration of camera technology; the official name of the PS3's camera tech is "PlayStation Eye").

Additional features, such as the user's ability to upload an image of his or her face through the EyePad, are detailed throughout. Take a look at the patent, then drop a comment below with your thoughts on this intriguing device. Should Sony prep the EyePad for release as a PlayStation 4 accessory?

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