A new patent from Nintendo outlines an innovative accessory that allows the user to use their Wii Remote as a touch pad. The line art from the patent app illustrates an accessory that you slip onto your Wii Remote, along with a device that connects to the Wii as well. The touch pad accessory works by amplifying the LED with mirrors on the remote.
It interprets the resulting signals as positional data each time the user touches the pad. This is certainly an ingenious solution to turn a standard controller into a touch pad, rather than creating an entirely new device. The fact that the company filed the patent application is no guarantee that this accessory will ever hit the market, or when you will be able to buy it in the stores.
The Japanese Nintendo patent application reveals a design that will turn a standard controller into a touch pad by simply sliding the new accessory onto the touch pad. When the user touches the pad it activates an infrared LED light. The beams of light are then amplified by bouncing off a mirror, and used by the controller as positional data.
The device doesn’t alter the operation of the remote so it can still be used as a standard Wii remote if the user chooses by simply not touching the pad. Nintendo has suggested that the accessory can work as a drawing pad or mouse pointer for advanced game activities. However, the standard Wii Remote already has mouse pointer functionality via the sensor bar.
Some people speculate that due to the aging lifespan of the current Wii system, it’s a good possibility that the new technology the patent describes may not hit the market until the arrival of the next generation Wii console, the Wii U. The main controller for the Wii U was revealed at E3 earlier this year, and unlike the standard Wii controller today it is a larger, tablet style touch screen device.
However, this device is also compatible with current Wii remotes. It is speculated that the touch pad accessory will add similar functionality to serve as an upgrade to older Wii remotes for the new system. However, the patent application drawings don’t make it clear whether the device includes a real touch screen or simply a touch sensitive pad. There are other rumors floating around the net that also hint at the new device being intended specifically for the Wii U system only.