New Patent Suggests Sony Is Working On Vive-Like Tracking For PSVR

by Jamie Feltham • February 13th, 2017

Sony’s PlayStation VR (PSVR) is a great headset, but tracking quality is a common complaint from users. A new patent from the company, however, suggests it could be working on a fix for that.

A new patent from Sony Interactive Entertainment, filed last year and published earlier this month, reveals the company is working on a new tracking system that looks similar in concept and setup to the Lighthouse tracking seen in HTC and Valve’s Vive. As reported by CGM, the patent details a “method for determining an orientation of a photosensor of a controller with respect to a projector” which uses beam forming to pick up the location of both a “head-mounted display” like the PSVR and a controller like the DualShock 4.

psvr-patent-2

The above image shows how these beams will “further determine a position” of a headset “with respect to a projector.” It is similar to the Lighthouse stations that come with the Vive and were developed as part of Valve’s SteamVR system. Two of these stations shoot beams across the room, which allows the headset’s location to be tracked.

Currently, PSVR uses the PlayStation Camera to track a series of lights fitted around the front and back of the device. While the system works, light interference and a reliance on a single tracking sensor can cause drift, with users observing movement inside even if they aren’t moving their head or controllers. It could be that this alternative method of tracking is more accurate, solving what is one of the biggest complaints for the headset.

Of course, patents aren’t confirmation of products, and even if Sony is planning to more effective means of tracking, who’s to say it’s for this iteration of PlayStation VR and the PlayStation 4? This could just as easily be the company laying the foundation for future versions of its tech.

Intriguingly, the description for this figure notes that the headset may be linked to a computing device (aka: the PS4) wirelessly via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, radio frequency, protocol or other methods. Could that suggest that Sony is also working on a wireless version of PSVR? At the very least the documentation doesn’t rule out the possibility, but it could also just be overly-descriptive.

Until this concept turns into a reality, you might want to keep closing your blinds and turning off the lights when using PSVR.

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