It looks like Nintendo could be working on a VR headset for its forthcoming Switch console after all. The Japanese games company has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office showing a peripheral that is designed to be worn on the user’s head, using an inserted display unit and a pair of lenses – in other words, a device much like Samsung GearVR or Google Daydream View.
Patent #: US20160361641 was found by NeoGAF user Rösti and includes repeated references to, ‘An information processing system, an information processing device, a controller device and an accessory,’ – it’s the accessory that we’re interested in here. The patent application includes an illustration with the explanation, ‘FIG. 33 is a diagram showing an example accessory to which the main unit can be attached.’
The patent explicitly says that the, ‘Example accessory can be used as a so-called HMD (head mounted display) with the main unit 2 attached’. It goes on to add that, ‘The HMD accessory includes a housing and belts so that it, ‘Can be mounted on the head of the user’, with a ‘Lens provided in each of the openings’.
The patent doesn’t include information about the field of view, but it does say that, ‘The HMD accessory may present images of a wide viewing angle to a user by enlarging the viewing angle of the images on the display through the lenses. This can enhance the sense of immersion for a user looking at the images.’
The main unit includes an acceleration sensor and an angular velocity sensor, so it can, ‘Calculate the movement and/or the attitude of the main unit 2 based on the detection results of these sensors.’
The specs may not be finalised however, as the patent also describes the situation that, ‘If the main unit 2 does not have an acceleration sensor and/or an angular velocity sensor, the HMD accessory may include the sensors’.
Make The Switch
When Nintendo first announced the Switch, we couldn’t believe the company that brought AR to the masses with Pokemon Go wouldn't include some kind of VR functionality with its next offering.
Tatsumi Kimishima, president of Nintendo Co, has previously said of VR that, “We have a lot of interest’”, but this is the first confirmation we’ve had that the company is actually working on VR hardware. It remains to be seen whether this design will reach consumers, but we hope to find out more from Nintendo’s Switch reveal from Tokyo on 13th January.