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Nintendo Files Patent For Blow-Up Motion-Sensing Horse Saddle

Nintendo Files Patent For Blow-Up Motion-Sensing Horse Saddle

August 11, 2009 | By Kris Graft

August 11, 2009 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Nintendo has the Wii Balance Board, Zapper, Wheel, MotionPlus, and Vitality Sensor. The only thing missing is an inflatable saddle to simulate horseback riding on a games console -- something for which Nintendo recently filed a patent.

It's the latest idea coming out Nintendo's peripheral skunkworks. The patent, filed in the European Patent Office in January and unearthed by Siliconera, describes the invention as "An inflatable air cushion or other type seat" upon which a person can sit, equipped with slots for a motion-sensing controller.

A picture accompanying the patent shows how a Wii Remote attaches to the cushion, as the user, probably a young child or an aspiring equestrian, grasps the nunchuck attachment. In this configuration, the wire connecting the Remote and the nunchuck resembles the reins of a bridle. The motion-sensing capabilities of the controllers relay inputs to the gaming system, which creates a graphical simulation on a monitor.

Also, while adults may have a hard time imagining themselves in front of their 55-inch high-def television, galloping away pretending to be the Lone Ranger on an inflatable ball, the patent says adults can be in on the fun as well.

"Physical size is a significant problem with such prior designs [such as rocking horses and merry-go-rounds]. To be realistic and useful by older children and adults, the model's dimensions generally need to approximate the size of a real animal."

"Of course, most of us prefer not to have a full-sized model of a large animal in our living room or den. Inflatable toy horses are known but typically have been used as swimming pool toys which do not provide a very realistic riding simulation... It would be desirable to provide an inexpensive, convenient way to realistically simulate, in the home, riding on a horseback or other animals."

The patent also said the device could provide force feedback through the seat. A controller could also be used in a "raised hand as in bronco riding, a lasso, a sword, or other weapon."

For now, the device (pictured below) is just a patent, and not a confirmation that Nintendo will ever release such a product. But imaginations must already be running wild with possibilities of riding Epona, or maybe even Yoshi.


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