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Sony patents autonomous robot companion that talks to gamers, shares emotions

A new gaming-related patent for Sony was spotted, but it has nothing to do with the PlayStation 5 and the recently revealed DualSense controller for the next-generation console.

A filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office revealed that Sony is possibly working on an autonomous robot companion that is capable of talking to gamers and sharing their emotions while they play.

Drawing in Sony's patent for robot gaming companion

The robot will include a “feeling deduction unit” that will be able to deduce a person’s feelings, an “internal state management unit” that will determine the internal state of the robot depending on the person’s feelings, an “action management unit” that will figure out what the robot should do, and an “output processing unit” that will carry out the decided action.

Supporting these units are a microphone, speaker, and camera, all embedded within the robot, as well as a biological sensor that may track the player’s heart rate and sweating state. The robot may also have mechanical parts that will allow it to better react to a player’s emotions, such as its arms, legs, and neck.

In the patent filing, Sony tagged the robot as a “joint viewing player” that sympathizes with players depending on what the player feels while playing games, such as happiness when finishing a level or sadness when losing to a boss several times.

Sony also described a computer-generated version of the robot companion, which may be seen in virtual reality through a head-mounted device such as the PlayStation VR headset.

Sony’s robots

The patent was filed with the USPTO, but that does not necessarily mean that the robot gaming companion will see the light of day soon, if at all. About a year ago, Sony filed a patent for a robot that would communicate with a PlayStation console to function as a personal trainer, and there have been no announcements for such a robot so far.

An autonomous robot gaming companion may not be as useful as one that is helping doctors during the current health crisis, and it remains to be seen if it will carry the same charm as Sony’s robot dog Aibo, which entranced our own Kim Wetzel after spending just a week with it.

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