Microsoft Patent on “Magic Wand”

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Whereas my enjoyment of most of my favorite games on the Wii isn’t really dependent on the functionality of the Wii remote, there is one exception: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Because I think it’s just cool that you cast spells by waving your “magic wand” in certain ways. It’s a small part of the game, but still enough to make me think, “Oh yeah, this is what this can do that the Playstation and XBox can’t.”

So it’s not really surprising that Microsoft is trying to get a handle on some of the functionality, but it’s still kind of amusing that their patent is for a “magic wand.” The patent application, made public a few days ago, was filed in November 2007 and involves an architecture that “facilitate[s] rich interaction with and/or management of environmental components included in an environment” and uses sensors “to determine an orientation or gesture in connection with the wand.” Oh, and it resembles “a wand or similar object.”

Of course, the patent covers functionality that goes beyond that of the Wii remote, including biometrics and communications with other wands. There’s obviously a comparison there, but I have no idea how much of the conceptual ideas behind the Wii Nintendo managed to get patented.

Though despite all that, I’m still not sure that “magic wand” is the best name, even just as a working one. Especially since if it’s not one magic wand that comes to mind, it might be the other.

By the way, with a new Harry Potter game coming out soon, it might be kind of neat (if a bit superfluous) to have a Wii-mote-compatible “wand.” After all, there’s already maracas.

[Image Source: Flickr]

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