GAME CONTROLLER WITH TACTILE FEEDBACK

- SPLITFISH GAMEWARE INC.

A video game tactile feedback system includes an electronic circuit for receiving tactile feedback signals from a video game, and generating electronic pulses to a conductive pad forming part of or attached to a video game controller. A video game player may grasp the controller in contact with the conductive pad and experience tactile feedback through the conductive pad.

Latest SPLITFISH GAMEWARE INC. Patents:

Skip to: Description  ·  Claims  · Patent History  ·  Patent History

Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus in which a video game provides tactile feedback to the game player while playing a video game.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The video game industry has undergone rapid expansion in both software and console technology improvements. This recent expansion and wider selection of video game consoles has differences between various features between the different console manufacturers. Some video game controllers have a rotating motor inside that causes the controller to physically vibrate and thus create what is called “force feedback” or “haptic feedback” that gives the game player the added sensation of immersion in the game. Newly released console systems have much larger processing abilities that are used to generate complex video games. This in turn has created a need for a more varied tactile feedback system that can better provide various sensations to enhance the video game player experiences. Handheld controllers are used to interface between the video game and the video game player. Current video game controllers for the Sony Playstation 2™ and XBOX™, and xBox 360™ video game console systems have two small electric motors with a counterweight on the motor shaft inside the controller. The Sony Playstation 3™ controller does not have these motors inside their current controller.

Visual changes in a television screen alert the game player that they have pressed a pre-programmed action. Movements by the game player on his controller are translated by the video game to the display screen. This creates a bi-directional communication via electronic signals that are relayed between the action in the video game and the video game player's movements that are produced by pressing the controller buttons. The small motors with counterweights inside the controller create tactile feedback enhancing the visual immersion in the game. These small motors turn on and off and cause a bell curve vibration to the video game player's hands.

A video game can be programmed in such a way that when a collision occurs between two objects displayed on the screen, the small motors inside the controller are turned on and cause a minor shaking of controller by the offset weight on the shaft of the motors. This is well known in the art and generally described as tactile feedback by a rotating mass.

Generally, prior art methods of producing tactile feedback lack the ability to adjust the intensity, pulses or variety of positions for a force feedback that is desired by the video game player.

To date, the Sony Playstation™ has been in existence since the Sony Playstation 1™ and has been replaced with the Sony Playstation 2™. The xBOX™ has been in existence since 2001 and more recently this has been replaced with the xBox 360™. Nintendo has a video game console called the Game Cube™ and more recently has been replaced with the Nintendo Wii™.

All of these leading video game console controllers are similar in design thus having the same limitations with respect of their controller's tactile feedback methods.

A need exists for a method and apparatus that enhances interaction between a game player and a video game console system in which the video game player experiences force feed back of different intensities, a variety of pulses and can experience these factors on a variety of different physical positions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus that increases interaction between a game player and a video game console system in which the video game player receives a wider range of tactile feedback from the video game.

In one aspect, the invention may comprise a video game tactile feedback system comprising an electronic circuit for receiving tactile feedback signals from a video game, and generating electronic pulses to a conductive pad forming part of or attached to a video game controller, which conductive pad is grasped by a video game player.

In another aspect, the invention comprises a method of providing video game tactile feedback to a video game user, comprising the steps of:

(a) receiving a tactile feedback signal from a video game;
(b) converting the tactile feedback signal to an electronic pulse output; and
(c) transmitting the output to a conductive pad grasped by the video game user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawing, like elements are assigned like reference numerals. The drawing is not necessarily to scale, with the emphasis instead placed upon the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 1 is a schematic of one embodiment of the invention including video game controller 20, video game console 30, television 40, connecting wire 42, connecting wire 43, connecting wire 44, connecting wire 45, connecting wire 46, conductive pad 50, and conductive pad 60 described in accordance with the invention herein.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of one embodiment showing three chips in synchronous array including data protocol chip 11, preprogrammed data converter chip 12, voltage generator chip 13, conductive pad 50, conductive pad 60, connecting wire 42, connecting wire 44, connecting wire 14, connecting wire 15, connecting wire 46, and connecting wire 45 as described in accordance with the invention herein.

FIG. 3 is schematic illustration of one example of a voltage pattern that can be output by the voltage generator chip 13 as described in accordance with the invention herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for a tactile force feedback system that is used by a video game player. Any term or expression not expressly defined herein shall have its commonly accepted definition understood by those skilled in the art.

The invention interfaces between a video game player's use of a video game controller and a video game console system. The method may also be used to produce tactile feedback for any game action. In one embodiment, the method may be used to produce tactile feedback for video game processing of collisions that are visually seen by the video game player into collisions that are felt by the video game player's hands thus enhancing the video game players experience.

In general, a video game player presses a video game controller button whereby the button can respond to the game player directly or the button press can be translated into an electronic signal and send to the video game console for processing. After the console video game software processes the button a signal is sent back to the video controller where a controller responds by electrically stimulating the game players hand with a variety of electronic pulses, frequencies, or duration. The electrical stimulation is achieved by placing conductive pads on the controller where the player's hand will contact the controller.

A video game controller has a bi-directional communication stream that flows back and forth between the controller and the video game console. Alterations to this bi-directional data stream cause the game to change depending on input from the game player or the controller to signal to the game player that the game has changed due to a controller button press. Typically a video game developer will program functions to occur when a controller button is pressed. The video game software in turn can enter data into the data stream that is translated to electronic packets that the controller translates to cause tactile feedback to be felt by the video game players hands.

A video game player typically holds a controller with one hand on each side. Therefore, in one embodiment, conductive pads are placed along both sides of a video game controller.

Video games are software generated, varied in nature and not consistently programmed. There is a wide selection of types and style of video games. Examples of various video game styles are flight simulators, first person shooters, scrolling and top view look at points. Typically, each style of video game ideally requires different tactile feedback sensations and fluctuations for the video game player.

In combination with a user intensity adjustment switch, the use of an electronic pulse generator intercepts and translates the data packets send from the console to the controller and thereby creates a variety of electronic pulses that can be altered in patterns, fluctuations, intensity, position and duration in which the video game player senses a wider variety of stimulations on the hands that hold the video game controller.

In general, the invention requires a source of power to supply the electrical needs to the various components described hereafter. A preferred electrical source is the power lead on the game consoles joystick port however a variety of devices may be used and are readily available to supply power for the requirements of the invention. One skilled in the art will realize that alternate power supplies may employ batteries, power adapters, electrical generators or any other form of adequate power supply means.

In one embodiment, the invention comprises a video game control system (100) comprising an electronic circuit that intercepts the data being sent to the controller from the console. A pulse generator translates the data sent to the controller and creates a waveform of patterns that affect the hand with various sensations. A conductive pad surface is joined to the pulse generator that is placed on the external surface of the controller that the hands or fingers touch.

The system (100) is placed between the consoles data output and the controller and therefore it can be placed inside the console as a last link to the controller's communication data or it can be placed external to the console and controller or it can be placed inside the controller as a part of the electronic components of the controller. In any case, the invention is linked between the console and the video game player. Due to analog style controller button presses, a variety of pulses can be generated depending on the force or speed a button is pressed on the controller. Due to the nature of video game programming a variety of pulses can be generated depending on the amount of force a video game wants to generate. As an example when a car crashes directly into a solid wall the invention can produce an intense pulse and when a car slides along a guardrail the invention can generate a less intense pulse.

In one method, the invention comprises a discrete housing and is located between the game console and an existing aftermarket controller. In a preferred method the invention is attached to the console port and to an existing aftermarket controller and to conductive pads that are attached on the surface of the controller.

Ergonomically, an intensity button which may be used to vary the intensity of the pulse may be placed on top of the invention that is connected to the console controller port however this could be placed anywhere on either the left side, right side or the flat surface of the console, controller or built inside the console.

In one embodiment, three electronic programmable chips are used to decode the console data packets, translate the data packets to electronic pulses and to send the electronic pulses to the conductive pads that are on the surface of the video game controller. One skilled in the art will realize that a variety of synchronous chip arrays may be employed to accomplish the same results. One skilled in the art will realize that alternate electronic configurations other than electronic programmable chips can be employed to decode, modify and encode the bi-directional electronic signals. In one embodiment, we use pre-programmed chips that includes compatible SPI protocols already used by the Sony Playstation 2™.

One synchronous programmed electronic chip contains the functions to decode, modify and encode the controller signals that correspond to the force feedback data packet that is sent out from the console to the controller. It should be obvious to one skilled in the art that a programmed electronic chip array and electronic circuit can be placed in the console or in the controller, however in one preferred embodiment, the system (100) exists between the controllers connecting wire and the video game console system. The data packet that is extracted from the bi-directional data packet can contain any 8 bit binary number. This number is initially produced by the video game. As an example, when a player is involved in a car race game and whereby the game can detect a collision on the right side of the car—the game is able to send the corresponding right collision data packet that contains the collision side, the force of impact and the length of collision through the data packet where the invention generates the corresponding electronic pulses on the right side of the controller. It will be obvious that a collision can be translated to any side of the controller.

The invention parses the bi-directional force feedback data stream packet sent from the console and that data is sent to a second electronic chip that is preprogrammed to generate a high voltage pulse that corresponds to the side of controller and the pulse characteristics. This data is then send to a third chip that takes the console supplied 5 volts and multiplies the voltage to a higher voltage that can range from 5 volts to over 200 volts. One skilled in the art is familiar with voltage doubling circuits that use crystals or capacitors to do voltage multiplying.

This higher voltage is sent to conductive pads that are on the external surface of the controller and positioned where the users hands are placed to hold the controller.

The result of which is a method and apparatus that allows the video game player to experience a variety of electronic pulses that can be altered in patterns, fluctuations, intensity, position and duration in which the video game player senses a wider variety of stimulations on the hands that hold the video game controller.

As shown in FIG. 1, a tactile feedback module (100) may be used in conjunction with a commercially available video game console system (30). These video game console systems 30 are readily available from supplying stores with current brand names such as Sony's PlayStation™, Microsoft's XBOX™ and Nintendo's Game Cube™ or Wii™. It should be apparent that the module (100) herein described can be adapted to either older, current or future game console systems (30) as well as computer controller systems, without detracting from spirit of the scope of the described invention.

In one embodiment, a left conductive rubber pad 50 that is fastened to the left side of the controller 20 and a second right conductive rubber pad 60 is fastened to the right side of the controller 20. Fastening of conductive rubber pad 50 and conductive rubber pad 60 can be done in a variety of ways such as hook and loop fasteners, glue or tape. Alternatively, the conductive pad may form part of the controller housing. Conductive rubber pad 50 and conductive rubber pad 60 are connected to a voltage chip generator 13. Voltage chip generator 13 comprises a programmable chip that contains pre-set programming language to produce various electrical pulses based on input from data converting chip 12. Data converting chip 12 produces high and low signals that are sent to voltage generator 13 chip. Data converting chip 12 receives input from data protocol chip 11. Data protocol chip 11 contains SPI protocols detection which can convert SPI protocol into signals that are sent to data converting chip 12.

Data protocol chip 11 is connected to the video game console 42 controller port where the console outputs bidirectional SPI protocol that is generated from the video game and the video game players actions. It should be apparent that the invention 100 herein can communicate with the video game console system 42 via wireless means such as Bluetooth, radio frequency or infrared wireless transmission techniques, as is well known in the art.

Chip 11, chip 12 and chip 13 may be common, commercially available electrical components. As displayed in FIG. 3, the combination of chip 11, chip 12 and chip 13 the invention herein described produces a tactile feedback signal using a frequency 80 of 10-60 Hertz range while having an amplitude between 5 to 200 volts. In one example shown in FIG. 3, a single squarewave wave form is produced. Higher output is possible but may be uncomfortable to the user. Lower output is possible but typically does not produce sufficient feedback to be effective to the user.

It should be apparent to one skilled in the art other different electrical components can be used to produce a variety of electrical stimulation pulses that are send to the conductive pad 50 and conductive pad 60 without detracting from the scope of the invention 100. It should also be apparent to one skilled in the art that various pulses, frequency and power levels can be produced from these chip sets as well configurations used without departing from the scope of the invention 100.

As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, various modifications, adaptations and variations of the foregoing specific disclosure can be made without departing from the scope of the invention claimed herein. The various features and elements of the described invention may be combined in a manner different from the combinations described or claimed herein, without departing from the scope of the invention.

Claims

1. A video game tactile feedback system comprising an electronic circuit for receiving tactile feedback signals from a video game, and generating electronic pulses to a conductive pad forming part of or attached to a video game controller, which conductive pad is grasped by a video game player.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the system is incorporated into a game controller housing, or is incorporated into a game console, or is separately housed from a game controller and a game console.

3. The system of claim 2 wherein the system comprises a left hand conductive pad, and a right hand conductive pad, which are separately connected to the feedback system.

4. The system of claim 3 wherein the electronic circuit comprises means for generating electronic pulses of different character for different tactile feedback signals.

5. A method of providing video game tactile feedback to a video game user, comprising the steps of:

(a) receiving a tactile feedback signal from a video game;
(b) converting the tactile feedback signal to an electronic pulse output; and
(c) transmitting the output to a conductive pad grasped by the video game user.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein the tactile feedback signal is converted to a separate left hand pulse output and a right hand pulse output, which may be the same or different, and transmitting the left hand output to a left hand conductive pad, and the right hand output to a right hand conductive pad.

Patent History

Publication number: 20080207317
Type: Application
Filed: Jan 24, 2008
Publication Date: Aug 28, 2008
Applicant: SPLITFISH GAMEWARE INC. (Edmonton)
Inventor: Kenneth Tetterington (Edmonton)
Application Number: 12/019,408

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Perceptible Output Or Display (e.g., Tactile, Etc.) (463/30)
International Classification: A63F 9/24 (20060101);