Title:
Computer Peripheral Overlay
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An overlay for a video game controller including a plurality of acuatable input modules configured to communicate with and transfer information between one or more corresponding input modules incorporated into the video game controller. A user controls the actions of an element in a video gaming environment via manipulation of respective overlay input modules.



Inventors:
Yang, Lin Wei (Guangdong, CN)
Application Number:
12/246829
Publication Date:
04/08/2010
Filing Date:
10/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GRANT, MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD PC (P.O. BOX 2903, MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 55402-0903, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An overlay for a computing device peripheral, comprising: a main body defining a plurality of openings; a plurality of actuable overlay input modules positioned within the openings; and an engagement mechanism formed with each of the overlay input modules; wherein the body of the overlay is coupled to a portion of the computing device peripheral, and wherein a respective engagement mechanism is configured to actuate one or more actuable computing device peripheral input modules upon an actuation of a respective overlay input module.

2. The overlay of claim 1, wherein a locking mechanism secures the overlay to the computing device peripheral.

3. The overlay of claim 1, wherein the computing device peripheral is a handheld video game controller.

4. The overlay of claim 1, wherein one or more overlay input modules include a mechanically actuable element.

5. The overlay of claim 1, wherein one or more computing device peripheral modules includes a mechanically actuable element.

6. The overlay of claim 5, wherein the computing device peripheral communicates with a computing device via a bidirectional communication medium.

7. The overlay of claim 1, wherein the computing device peripheral communicates with a computing device via a bidirectional communication medium.

8. An overlay for a video game controller, comprising: a main body defining a plurality of openings; a plurality of actuable overlay input modules positioned in the openings; and an engagement mechanism formed with each of the overlay input modules; wherein the overlay is coupled to a portion of the game controller to form an overlay apparatus, and wherein a respective engagement mechanism is configured to actuate one or more actuable video game controller input modules upon an actuation of a respective overlay input module.

9. The overlay of claim 8, wherein a locking mechanism secures the overlay to the computing device peripheral.

10. The overlay of claim 8, wherein the overlay includes is a plurality of ergonomic surfaces.

11. The overlay of claim 8, wherein the video game controller communicates with a computing device via a bidirectional communication medium.

12. The overlay of claim 8, wherein the overlay is used to interface with a guitar simulation game environment.

13. The overlay of claim 8, wherein the overlay further comprises an information relay aperture.

14. The overlay of claim 8, wherein an engagement mechanism includes a first actuation surface, and wherein an actuation of an overlay input module translates into a mechanical force such that the first actuation surface actuates one or more video game controller input modules.

15. The overlay of claim 8, wherein an engagements mechanism includes a lever arm and a second actuation surface, and an actuation of an overlay input module translates into a mechanical force such that the second actuation surface actuates one or more video game controller input modules.

16. The overlay of claim 8, wherein the overlay further includes a curved surface such that one or more input modules of the game controller are accessible to a user.

17. The overlay of claim 8, wherein the overlay is formed from a resilient plastic material.

18. An overlay apparatus for controlling an element in a guitar simulation game environment, the overlay comprising: an overlay having a plurality of actuable overlay input modules extending in a longitudinal axis to simulate fret buttons of a guitar; and a video game controller having a plurality of actuable controller input modules; wherein the overlay is coupled to a portion of the video game controller to form the overlay apparatus; and wherein an engagement mechanism formed with each of the plurality of the overlay input modules is configured to actuate one or more controller input modules upon an actuation of one or more of the overlay input modules, the actuation of the overlay input modules simulating depression of fret buttons within the guitar simulation game environment.

19. The overlay apparatus of claim 18, wherein a locking mechanism secures the overlay to the computing device peripheral.

20. The overlay apparatus of claim 19, wherein the locking mechanism includes tabs that mate with a corresponding structure on the computing device peripheral.

Description:

BACKGROUND

A video gaming platform, such as a console platform, is typically provided with a primary game controller that enables a user to interface with and control an element in a video game environment. The primary controller is generally configured having a characteristic shape such that the user can interface with a variety of different video game environments. Video game environments evolve so that investment in a specialized game controller may be required for a given game environment.

For example, a guitar playing simulation game environment typically requires a guitar-shaped game controller as the game controller. There are many other game environments that require a specialized game controller as well, such as for sporting game environments, shooting game environments, and others. As such, a user is required to invest in a variety of different game controllers to interact with game environment as desired.

Consequently, it is desirable to leverage a primary game controller such that a user can adapt to and interface with new and evolving video game environments without requiring further substantial investment.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, an overlay for a computing device peripheral includes a main body defining a plurality of openings, a plurality of actuable overlay input modules positioned within the openings, and an engagement mechanism formed with each of the overlay input modules. The body of the overlay is coupled to a portion of the computing device peripheral, and wherein a respective engagement mechanism is configured to actuate one or more actuable computing device peripheral input modules upon an actuation of a respective overlay input module.

In another aspect, an overlay for a video game controller includes a main body defining a plurality of openings, a plurality of actuable overlay input modules positioned in the openings, and an engagement mechanism formed with each of the overlay input modules. The overlay is coupled to a portion of the game controller to form an overlay apparatus, and wherein a respective engagement mechanism is configured to actuate one or more actuable video game controller input modules upon an actuation of a respective overlay input module.

In yet another aspect, an overlay apparatus for controlling an element in a guitar simulation game environment includes an overlay having a plurality of actuable overlay input modules extending in a longitudinal axis to simulate fret buttons of a guitar, and a video game controller having a plurality of actuable controller input modules. The overlay is coupled to a portion of the video game controller to form the overlay apparatus. An engagement mechanism formed with each of the plurality of the overlay input modules is configured to actuate one or more controller input modules upon an actuation of one or more of the overlay input modules, the actuation of the overlay input modules simulating depression of fret buttons within the guitar simulation game environment.

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below. This summary is not intended to identify key or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used in any way as to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Aspects of the disclosure may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments of the disclosure in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an example computing system environment;

FIG. 2 is an exploded block view of the computing system environment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an example overlay apparatus;

FIG. 4 is an isometric view of an example video game controller;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the video game controller of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a front of the example overlay apparatus of FIG. 3 with an attachment;

FIG. 7 is a front view of a controller overlay of FIG. 3;

FIG. 8 is a rear view of the example controller overlay of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 9 is a perspective cross-sectional view of the controller overlay of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This disclosure will now more fully describe exemplary embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which specific embodiments are shown. Other aspects may, however, be embodied in many different forms and the inclusion of specific embodiments in the disclosure should not be construed as limiting such aspects to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, the embodiments depicted in the drawings are included to provide a disclosure that is thorough and complete and which fully conveys the intended scope to those skilled in the art. When referring to the figures, like structures and elements shown throughout are indicated with like reference numerals.

The present disclosure is directed to an overlay for a video game controller. The overlay includes a plurality of actuable input modules configured to communicate with and transfer information between one or more corresponding input modules incorporated into the game controller. In this manner, a user is able to control the actions of an element or an entity in a video gaming environment via manipulation of respective overlay input modules. In general, an overlay according to the principles of the present disclosure can be used in conjunction with any type or form of peripheral device configured to interact with a computing device such that data and/or control signals are communicated therebetween.

The term “peripheral device” used herein refers to any device that is coupled to a computing device such that a user may interface with computing device functionality. A peripheral device may include a monitor, a scanner, a camera, or a computing device such as a laptop, a personal computer, a smartphone, a personal digital assistant, a media player, a video game platform, and others. Further, a peripheral device may include any type of video game controller such as a mouse, a keyboard, a gamepad, a joystick, a gun, or any other type of device configured to interface with a video game platform.

FIG. 1 shows an example computing environment 100 having features consistent with the principles of the present disclosure. In one aspect, computing environment 100 includes a user 105, one or more peripheral devices 110, a peripheral overlay 115, and one or more computing devices 120. In general, a peripheral device 110 enables the user 105 to interface with various computing device 120 functionalities. In example embodiments provided herein, a peripheral overlay 115 is coupled to a portion of a respective peripheral device 110 to form an overlay apparatus 125. In the described embodiments, the overlay apparatus 125 enables the user 105 to optionally: a) directly interact with a respective peripheral device 110; and/or b) indirectly with a respective peripheral device 110 by virtue of the peripheral overlay 115.

In example embodiments, each computing device 120 includes a plurality of input/output devices, a processing device (e.g. central processing unit), one or more computer readable media, and a communication device. Other embodiments of a computing device are possible as well. Computer readable media refers to any medium that participates in providing electronic data that may be accessed and read by a computing device. Computer readable media can include storage media such as non-volatile and volatile memory implemented in any method or technology for the storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data. Computer readable media may also include communication media that typically embodies computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. The term “modulated data signal” means a signal that has one or more of its characteristics set or changed in such a manner as to encode information in the signal. A communications device establishes a data connection that allows a computing device to communicate with one or more other computing devices via any number of standard or specialized communication technologies such as, for example, a universal serial bus (USB), 802.11 a/b/g network, radio frequency, infrared, serial, or any other communication technology. In general, the communication between one or more computing devices is accomplished via a bidirectional communication medium or path. In certain embodiments, the communication medium can be any of a number of wireless or hardwired WAN, LAN, Internet, or other packet-based communication networks.

In some examples herein, peripheral device 110 is a game controller, and computing device 120 is a game console. Peripheral overlay 115 interacts with the peripheral device 115 to modify the use thereof, as described below. Other configurations of computing system environment 100 are possible as well.

In one aspect, a bidirectional back-end communication path 130 is created between peripheral device 110 and computing device 120. In general, back-end communication path 130 enables the transfer of information (such as data or control signals) between a compatibly configured peripheral device 110 and computing device 120. In certain embodiments, back-end communication path 130 is created as one of any number of standard or specialized communication technologies.

Additionally, a bidirectional front-end communication path 135 is created between the user 105 and a respective peripheral device 110 to enable the direct transfer of information therebetween. In certain embodiments, front-end communication path 135 is created as one of any number of standard or specialized communication technologies.

Further, in example embodiments in which a peripheral overlay 115 and peripheral device 110 are coupled to form an overlay apparatus 125, a bidirectional intermediate communication path 140 is realized between the user 105 and respective peripheral device 110. In the described embodiment, the intermediate communication path 140 enables the user 105 to optionally transfer information to the respective peripheral device 110 via an intermediate interaction with the peripheral overlay 115.

Referring now to FIG. 2, an exploded view 200 of the overlay apparatus 125 as described with reference to FIG. 1 is depicted. In example embodiments, the peripheral overlay 115 and the peripheral device 110 each respectively include a plurality of input modules 205. In general, an input module 205 embodies a mechanical and/or an electronic element that is configured to sense an input and subsequently generate and transfer information embodied as a force, data, or a modulated signal, between respective elements of the example computing environment 100.

For example, in one embodiment, the transfer of information in a direction from the user 105 to the computing device 120 occurs by virtue of user 105 interaction with one or more respective input modules 205. In one example embodiment, a respective input module 205 formed with the peripheral overlay 115 can be actuated by the user 105 via intermediate communication path 140. In the described embodiment, the respective input module 205 can include a mechanical actuator such as command button, a binary switch or a rotary dial that can be physically manipulated by the user 105.

In other example embodiments, the respective input module 205 can include an electronic element such as a sensor that may be excited by acoustic or electromagnetic energy. In the described example embodiments, upon actuation of the respective input module 205 a control signal or a mechanical force can then be transferred via intermediate communication path 140 to one or more respective input modules 205 formed with the peripheral device 110. In this manner, one or more input modules 205 formed with the peripheral device 110 are indirectly actuated by the user 105.

Alternatively, the user 105 can directly actuate an input module 205 on the peripheral device 110 via front-end communication path 135 in a manner consistent with the above description. Following actuation, the one or more respective input modules 205 on the peripheral device 110 may generate and transfer information to the computing device 120 via back-end communication path 130 for subsequent interpretation and/or processing.

In general, the transfer of information in a direction from the computing device 120 to the user 105 is enabled by the same mechanisms as described above, such as for example computing device 120 actuation of one or more input modules 205 on the peripheral device 110 via back-end communication path 130. In example embodiments, computing device 120 actuation of one or more input modules 205 on the peripheral device 110 occurs in response to stimulus as provided by the user 105 or as required by various computing device 120 functionalities. In certain embodiments, information is directly transferred from the peripheral device 110 to the user 105 via front-end communication path 135. In other example embodiments, information is indirectly transferred from the peripheral device 110 to the user 105 by way of peripheral overlay 115 via intermediate communication path 140. In certain embodiments, actuation of one or more input modules 205 by the computing device 120 corresponds to the generation and transmission of perceptible feedback to the user 105, such as auditory, visual, and/or vibratory feedback.

Referring now to FIGS. 3-9, an example overlay apparatus 300 comprising of a game controller 400 and a controller overlay 500 is shown according to the principles of the present disclosure. The controller overlay 500 and game controller 400 embody the features and characteristics of the peripheral overlay 115 and peripheral device 110 of example computing environment 100 as described with reference to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2.

In the example embodiment, the game controller 400 is a Wii Remote as provided by NINTENDO® for use with a Wii video game console. The game controller 400 is a handheld computing device that includes a communication port 405 and a plurality of actuable input modules including a power button 410, a D-pad 415, an “A” button 420, a “Home” button 425, a “−” button 430, and “+” button 435, a “1” button 445, and a “2” button 450. The game controller 400 also includes a slot 451 formed in each of the sides of the game controller 400 to allow the controller overlay 500 to be coupled to the game controller 400, as described below. The game controller 400 further includes a speaker aperture 440 to provide audio feedback to a user and a plurality of LED apertures 455 that provide visual feedback to a user.

In certain embodiments, the game controller 400 includes a “rumble” feature to provide vibrational feedback to a user. The game controller 400 further includes an adaptor port 460 to enable an attachment to be coupled to the game controller 400, such as a Nunchuck 465, and a safety wrist strip 470.

In the example embodiment, the controller overlay 500 is shaped to be complementary to the shape of the game controller 400. In this manner, the controller overlay 500 can be coupled with and secured to a portion of the game controller 400, described in further detail below.

In general, the controller overlay 500 includes a plurality of mechanically actuable input modules in which each respective input module includes an engagement mechanism configured to engage with and actuate a corresponding input module of the game controller 400. In one example embodiment, a properly coupled controller overlay 500 enables a user to control actions in a guitar simulation game environment by manipulating the input modules of the controller overlay 500.

In certain embodiments, the actuable input modules of the controller overlay 500 are mechanically actuable buttons including a plurality of fret buttons 505, 510, 515, 520, a first control button 525, and a second control button 530. In general, the fret buttons 505, 510, 515, 520, and control buttons 525, 530 are embedded in the controller overlay 500 and include a depressible section accessible from a top side 535 of the controller overlay 500 and an engagement mechanism extending from a bottom side 540 of the controller overlay 500, described in further detail below. Further, the controller overlay 500 includes an information relay aperture 545. In the example embodiment, the information relay aperture 545 is a transparent elliptical plastic aperture positioned adjacent to fret button 505 such that the plurality of LED apertures 455 are visible to the user when the controller overlay 500 is coupled to the game controller 400.

In one aspect, the depressible sections of the fret buttons 505, 510, 515, 520 on the top side 535 of the controller overlay 500 are orientated in a single row and are elliptically shaped with a long axis, A, perpendicular to a longitudinal axis, B, as defined with respect to the game controller 400. In certain embodiments, the fret buttons 505, 510, 515, 520 may be color coded to facilitate simplification of game play in the guitar simulation environment, as described above. Other configurations and shapes of the fret buttons 505, 510, 515, 520 are possible as well. Further, in certain embodiments, the depressible sections of the first and second control buttons 525, 530 on the top side 535 of the controller overlay 500 are generally positioned between fret buttons 515 and 520. In certain embodiments, control buttons 525, 530 are circular shaped. Other shapes and locations of control buttons 525, 530 are possible as well.

As referred to above, each respective fret buttons 505, 510, 515, 520, and control buttons 525, 530 are mechanically depressible and include an engagement mechanism extending from the bottom side 540 of the controller overlay 500. In this manner, upon depression of the respective buttons 505, 510, 515, 520, 525, and 530 each respective engagement mechanism is enabled to physically engage with one or more corresponding actuable input modules of the game controller 400.

For example, in certain embodiments, an engagement mechanism is embodied as a first actuation surface 550 such that depression of fret button 505 or fret button 520 by a user translates into a mechanical force such that a first actuation surface 550 physically interacts with and engages a corresponding input module on the game controller 400. In the described embodiment, depression of fret button 505 and fret button 520 correspond to actuation of the “A” button 420, and the “2” button 450 of the game controller 400, respectively. Further, in certain embodiments, an engagement mechanism is embodied as a lever arm 555 having a second actuation surface 560 such that depression of a respective fret button 510 or 515 and a depression of respective control buttons 525, 530 by a user translates into a mechanical force such that the second actuation surface 560 physically interacts with and depresses a corresponding input module on the game controller 400.

In the described embodiment, depression of fret buttons 510, 515 and control buttons 525 and 530 correspond to actuation of the “1” button 445, the “−” button 430, and the “Home” button 425, and “+” button 435, respectively. In the described embodiments, the fret buttons 505, 510, 515, 520, and the control buttons 525, 530 are configured to actuate one or more controls on the game controller 400 when the game controller 400 and the controller overlay 500 are coupled to form the overlay apparatus 300.

In certain embodiments, the controller overlay 500 further includes a curved surface 565 such that the power button 410 and the D-pad 415 and are freely accessible to a user when the game controller 400 and the controller overlay 500 are coupled to form the overlay apparatus 300. Additionally, the controller overlay 500 is formed such that a plurality of ergonomic surfaces 570 provides a comfortable hand gripping surface for a user. Further, in certain embodiments, the controller overlay 500 is formed from a resilient plastic material such a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).

In use, the controller overlay 500 is coupled to the game controller 400 by orientating the curved surface 565 of the controller overlay 500 towards a first end 475 of the game controller 400 in an orientation along the longitudinal axis, A. In the described embodiment, a top side 480 of the game controller 400 and the front side 535 of the controller overlay 500 are orientated in the same direction. Subsequently, the controller overlay 500 is moved towards the game controller 400 along the longitudinal axis A such that the top side 480 of the game controller 400 engages with the bottom side 540 of the controller overlay 500. The controller overlay 500 is moved along longitudinal axis until the first end 475 of the game controller 400 interacts with a back portion 580 of the controller overlay 500.

In certain embodiments, the controller overlay 500 includes a locking mechanism including a plurality of plastic tabs 585 formed on the bottom side 540 of the controller overlay 500 such that the controller overlay 500 is secured to the game controller 400. For example, in one embodiment, the plastic tabs 585 are received in slots 451 (see FIG. 5) of the game controller 400 as the controller overlay 500 is moved in the longitudinal axis. The tabs 585 slide within the slots 451 until the back portion 580 of the controller overlay 500 contacts the first end 475 of the game controller 400. In this position, the controller overlay 500 is coupled to the game controller 400 for use.

In alternative designs, other types of locking mechanisms can be used. For examples, resilient tabs can be used on the overlay to snap into detents formed on the controller. Other configurations are possible.

The preceding embodiments are intended to illustrate without limitation the utility and scope of the present disclosure. Those skilled in the art will readily recognize various modifications and changes that may be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the true spirit and scope of the disclosure.