Nintendo Patent Shows Touchscreen Add-On for Wiimote
Nintendo may offer a touch screen adapter for the current Wii Remote when the next-generation Wii U console lands on store shelves next year.
While we already know that current Wii remotes (Wiimotes) will be compatible with the upcoming Wii U next-generation console, Nintendo may introduce an add-on periscope-like adapter that will bring additional "touch" capabilities to the legacy device.
Based on the diagrams listed in the patent, the add-on will engulf the entire controller, allowing the user to place the Wiimote within the adapter's base and pull the strap through the back. The screen itself juts up several inches from the front, taking control of the Wiimote's sensors. Inside the actual screen "tower" will be a mirror and an LED amplifier that allows the screen to communicate with the Wiimote's sensors.
According to a Japanese patent filed by the company, an infrared LED turns on when the player touches the screen. The beam is then amplified, bounced off a mirror, and interpreted by the controller's sensors as position data. The Wiimote then continues on with business as usual when the player does not touch the screen.
Naturally there's no guarantee that this Wiimote add-on will ever reach the market, and based on the patent diagrams, it looks to be somewhat awkward. What will it be like when users are swinging the device around like a bat? How easy will it be to remove when playing an unsupported game? Nintendo seemingly addresses these questions by proposing in its patent that the adapter will be geared towards in-game drawing or to add a mouse pointer interface to a game.
To see the patent illustrations, head here. Nintendo's Wii U console is currently slated to arrive in North America sometime after March 2012, so stay tuned.