Patrick Goschy, an ex-Midway employee, has a YouTube video of himself demonstrating something astoundingly similar to a Wiimote / Nunchuck... eight years ago. His demo shows his hacked-together controllers providing a surprisingly-responsive interface for a bit of Ready 2 Rumble Boxing on the Dreamcast. Goschy, who appeared on Fox News in Chicago last night, says that he has had no formal involvement with the Wii, but holds the related patents . . . .
Brett Trout offers some patent insights as well as details of the patent involved:
Claim 1 of the patent reads as follows:
A video game system comprising:
a game controller;
a hand-held control unit coupled to the game controller and housing an accelerometer and a light sensor,
the accelerometer sensing tilt of the control unit with respect to an axis, the accelerometer producing an acceleration signal indicating the tilt of the control unit with respect to the axis, the game controller processing the acceleration signal to control the movement of a game character on a video display coupled to the game controller and further processing the acceleration signal to control directional navigation of the game character through a game environment, said navigation corresponding to the tilt of the hand-held control unit,
the light sensor detecting one or more light pixels from the video display corresponding to a direction in which the hand-held control unit is pointing, the light sensor producing a detection signal to the game controller, the game controller determining from the detection signal the light pixels from the video display detected by the light sensor.
The video appears to be a valuable demonstration of the patented claims and could be damaging for Nintendo. Notwithstanding, the one thought in mind as I watched was not "This video appears to be a valuable demonstration of the patented claims and could be damaging for Nintendo" but rather "Why is this man not wearing any pants?"
I'm sure when Goschy made the video demonstrating his invention eight years ago, he didn't intend it for public consumption or as some sort of authoritative record of his technical achievement. All in all, I was reminded of my mother's admonitions to always wear clean underwear because you never know when a pantsless video of you will be posted to an as-yet undeveloped worldwide forum as evidence of a possible patent infringement. Or something along those lines.
UPDATE: Engadget has followed-up with Goschy, who confirmed that he has no standing to sue Nintendo -- all of his patents are assigned to Midway. He indicated that, "as far as he can tell, Nintendo bought the patents from Midway, since Nintendo references one of the patents in its application for the Wiimote." According to Engadget, "He's going to do a redo of the original video -- hopefully with pants this time -- if he can scrounge himself up a working Dreamcast."