Sony has aims to transform ordinary household objects into controllers, according to this recently published patent, and the prospect of using a banana to play Demon's Souls is too enticing for us to pass over.
How does it work? I'm glad you asked. Pick a card, any card. That counts as a "non-luminous passive object being held by a user," which is what the patent requires, and Sony chose a banana to represent this in the diagrams. What happens is that a camera snaps photos of the item (I'll say it's a banana for consistency) and creates a replication of the banana based on pixels, contours, and colours in the photos. That information is then sent to the game so that the code recognises the banana as the input method for the gameplay experience. Very pedestrian stuff here.
Through further explanation, the company is clear that the applicability of a banana to playing Demon's Souls is extensive. "For example, rotation of the contour (or representation thereof) may be used to generate a directional command corresponding to steering a moving object in a corresponding direction or changing a viewpoint of a virtual camera in a corresponding direction," continues the patent. "In some examples, changes in area of the contour may be used to control a rate of travel in the forward and/or backward directions; for example, an increase in area may correspond to a 'travel forward' command, or 'accelerate' command." In short, if you squeeze the banana, it could register that movement to pause your game so that you have time to eat a (different) banana.
The banana to be used in place of the DualSense controller / Credit: Sony
So... why does Sony want to use bananas as controllers for its titles? "It would be desirable if a user could use an inexpensive, simple and non-electronic device as a video game peripheral," elaborated the patent. "The present disclosure seeks to address or at least alleviate some of the above-identified problems."
Though it is ridiculous to read about in the context of bananas, this isn't the first foray from Sony into investigating new methods of input for players. In 2019, Immersion Corp and Sony partnered to bring "advanced haptics" software that mimics "sensations of pushing, pulling, grasping, and pulsing" to its hardware. Combine this with the 2020 paper on a new doodad from two Sony employees that registers exactly how your fingers are clasping the controller, and there might be some very interesting advancements in the peripherals for PSVR for PlayStation 5.
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