Sony patents sound-sensing PS3 controller

A recent Sony PS3 patent filing has revived rumors that the company is quietly preparing to attack Nintendo's motion-sensing Wii head-on.

While just a patent filing for now, the details include features and functionality that would be impossible with a Wiimote or the upcoming 1:1 MotionPlus add-on. For instance, the Sony controller uses the same break-apart design that surfaced earlier this year, but it adds in PlayStation Eye tracking and "ultrasonic" waves to track a player in 3-D space.

"Game interface tracks the position of one or more game controllers in 3-dimensional space using hybrid video capture and ultrasonic tracking system," read the patent filing, which was researched by "The captured video information is used to identify a horizontal and vertical position for each controller within a capture area. The ultrasonic tracking system analyzes sound communications to determine the distances between the game system and each controller and to determine the distances among the controllers."

The controller also fits together in a variety of combinations, much like the Menacer light gun peripheral for the Sega Genesis in the early 1990s. The original break apart PS3 controller design was actually unveiled in a separate patent filing earlier this year.

The Xbox 360, for its part, also saw its share of motion control rumors swirl throughout 2008. As of today, however, Microsoft has continued to deny the existence of a motion controller for that console.