The picture above is a diagram from a patent filed in October by Sony's Richard Marks (you may remember him as the "genius" behind the PlayStation Eye.)
It was published by the U.S. Patent Office on February 16 as a "User-Driven Three-Dimensional Interactive Gaming Environment" - the word "environment" being the interesting one.
Sony's caught hell before for developing controllers that feature pre-patented tech and this sounds dangerously close to Microsoft's Kinect.
But is it?
Take claim #7 from the official patent, for example, which relates to the diagram above:
"A computer program embodied on a computer readable medium for providing a real-time three-dimensional interactive environment, comprising: program instructions that obtain depth values indicating distances from one or more physical objects in a physical scene to a depth sensing device, the depth sensing device configurable to be maintained at a particular depth range defined by a plane so that objects between the particular depth range and the depth sensing device are processed by the depth sensing device, wherein the particular depth range establishes active detection by the depth sensing device, as depth values of objects placed through the particular depth range and toward the depth sensing device are detected and depth values of objects placed beyond the particular depth range are not detected, and the objects placed through the particular depth range are rendered and displayed in a virtual scene based on geometric characteristics of the object itself."Too long; didn't read? This dead, dry sentence (yeah, it's one sentence) says Sony's new tech can selectively track objects in your living room based on their distance from the sensor. It also can render an object that is within range into the game world, based on its geometry.
If I'm reading this right, that's a bit different than what Kinect can do - a more tangible Scribblenauts, if you will.
No word yet on where they'll utilize this new patent - probably even further off is when. But, check out the full patent doc below and commence the speculation.