Nintendo Switch Patent Reveals New Details

One of my favorite NeoGAF members is Rösti. He has a habit of digging up patent information for Nintendo, and this time he hit the mother load. Many times patent drawings and the information accompanying them are difficult to interpret and understand. This time around, the schematics of the Switch and its Joy-Con attachments are surprisingly accurate. Detailed information about the system and its accessories provides insight into how Nintendo’s new device functions and offers up some clues for what we can expect to be officially unveiled during Nintendo’s Switch Presentation, taking place on the evening of January 12, 2017.

Touchscreen / Sleep Function / Headphone / Air Ventilation

Nintendo hasn’t announced that the Switch has a touchscreen. We would have been extremely surprised if it didn’t, but the patent paperwork definitely mentions it in the pictures below.

The main unit 2 includes a touch panel 13 on the screen of the display 12 such that display 12 functions as a touch screen. The touch panel may sense position, pressure or other characteristics of touch. In the present embodiment, the touch panel 13 is of a type (e.g., the capacitive type) that enables a multi-touch input. Note however that there is no particular limitation on the type of the touch panel 13, and the touch panel 13 may be of a type (e.g., the resistive type) that enables a single-touch input, for example.

The power button 28 is a button for turning ON/OFF the power of the main unit 2. Note that in the present embodiment, the power button 28 can be used to switch between the ON mode and the sleep mode. The ON mode is a mode in which the screen display of the display 12 is turned on, for example, and the sleep mode is a mode in which the screen display of the display 12 is turned off, for example. In the sleep mode, in addition to (or instead of) turning off the screen display of the display 12, a predetermined process of the application (e.g., a game process of a game application) may be stopped. When a long-press operation is performed on a power button 28 (specifically, when the power button 28 is held down for a predetermined period of time or longer), the main unit 2 executes a process of turning ON/OFF the power of the main unit 2. On the other hand, when a short-press operation is performed on the power button 28 (specifically, when the power button 28 is held down for a period of time that is shorter than the predetermined period of time), the main unit 2 executes a process of switching between the ON mode and the sleep mode.

The main unit 2 includes a sound input/output terminal (specifically, an earphone jack) 25. That is, the main unit 2 allows a microphone or an earphone to be attached to the sound input/output terminal 25. As shown in FIG. 3, the sound input/output terminal 25 is provided on the upper side surface of the housing 11.

The housing 11 is provided with an air outlet hole 11c. As shown in FIG. 3, the air outlet hole 11c is provided on the upper side surface of the housing 11. The air outlet hole 11c is provided so as to radiate (in other words, discharge) the heat generated inside the housing 11 to the outside of the housing 11 for cooling purposes.

The main unit 2 also includes a second slot 24. In the present embodiment, the second slot 24 is provided on the lower side surface of the housing 11. Note however that in other embodiments, the second slot 24 may be provided on the same surface as the first slot 23. The second slot 24 is shaped so as to accommodate a storage medium of a second type, which is different from the first type. Note that in the present embodiment, a cover that can be opened/closed is provided for the opening of the second slot 24, and a storage medium of the second type can be inserted into the second slot 24 with the cover being open. A storage medium of the second type may be, for example, a general-purpose storage medium, e.g., an SD card. As is the storage medium of the first type, the storage medium of the second type is used for storing data used in the main unit 2 (e.g., application save data, etc.) and/or for storing programs to be executed on the main unit 2 (e.g., application programs, etc.).

The housing 11 is provided with an air inlet hole 11d. As shown in FIG. 3, the air inlet hole 11d is provided on the lower side surface of the housing 11. The air inlet hole 11d is provided so as to take in (in other words, introduce) the air from the outside of the housing 11 to the inside of the housing 11. In the present embodiment, the air inlet hole 11d is provided on the surface opposite from the surface where the air outlet hole 11c is provided, thereby allowing for efficient discharge of the heat from inside the housing 11.

 

Left Joy-Con Has Extra L & R Buttons / Clickable Sticks / Record Button / LED Indicators / Pairing Button

Often hidden from view, the Joy-Con controllers that slip off each side of the Switch each have an additional L & R shoulder button. These are hidden away when docked to the Switch, but accessible when used as individual controllers.

The left controller 3 also includes a second L button 43 and a second R button 44. As are the other operation buttons 33 to 36, these buttons 43 and 44 are used to give instructions in accordance with various programs executed on the main unit 2. As shown in FIG. 5, the second L button 43 and the second R button 44 are provided on the engaging surface of the slider 40.

The second L button 43 is provided on the engaging surface of the slider 40 above the center of the engaging surface with respect to the up-down direction (the y-axis direction shown in FIG. 1). The second R button 44 is provided on the engaging surface of the slider 40 below the center of the engaging surface with respect to the up-down direction. The second L button 43 and the second R button 44 are arranged at such positions that they cannot be pressed down with the left controller 3 attached to the main unit 2. That is, the second L button 43 and the second R button 44 are buttons that are used when the left controller 3 is detached from the main unit 2.

For example, the second L button 43 and the second R button 44 are operated with the index finger or the middle finger of the left hand and the right hand of a user holding the left controller 3 detached from the main unit 2 (see FIG. 35).

The left controller 3 includes an analog stick 32. As shown in FIG. 5, the analog stick 32 is provided on the primary surface of the housing 31. The analog stick 32 is an example of a directional input section allowing a user to input a direction. The analog stick 32 includes a stick member that can be tilted in any direction (i.e., 360.degree. directions including the upper, lower, left, right and diagonal directions) parallel to the primary surface of the housing 31. A user can tilt the stick member to make a direction input based on the tilt direction (and a magnitude input based on the tilt angle). In the present embodiment, a user can also make an input by pressing down the stick member (in a direction vertical to the housing 31). That is, the analog stick 32 is an input section that allows a user to make a direction input and a magnitude input based on the tilt direction and the tilt amount, respectively, of the stick member, and also to make a push input by pressing down the stick member.

The left controller 3 also includes a record button 37. As shown in FIG. 5, the record button 37 is provided on the primary surface of the housing 31, more specifically, in a lower right area of the primary surface. The record button 37 is a button for giving an instruction to save the image displayed on the display 12 of the main unit 2. For example, when a game image is displayed on the display 12, a user can press the record button 37 to save the game image that is displayed at the point in time when the button is pressed in a storage section of the main unit 2, for example.

The left controller 3 also includes a minus (-) button 47. As shown in FIG. 5, the minus button 47 is provided on the primary surface of the housing 31, more specifically, in an upper right area of the primary surface. The minus button 47 is used to give instructions in accordance with various programs executed on the main unit 2 (e.g., the OS program and application programs). The minus button 47 is used, for example, as a select button (e.g., a button used to move the selection through different selection items) in game applications. 

The left controller 3 includes an indicator LED 45. The indicator LED is an indicator section for indicating predetermined information to the user. There is no particular limitation on the information to be indicated by the indicator LED. In the present embodiment, the indicator LED shows the user identification information of the controller when the main unit 2 communicates with a plurality of controllers. Specifically, as the indicator LED, the left controller 3 includes a number (herein, four) of LEDs equal to the number of controllers that the main unit 2 can be simultaneously in communication with. Then, one of the four LEDs is lit, which is associated with the number assigned to the controller. Thus, it is possible with the indicator LED 45 to indicate the number to the user.

In the present embodiment, the indicator LED 45 is provided on the engaging surface of the slider 40 as shown in FIG. 5. Thus, the indicator LED 45 is arranged at such a position that the indicator LED 45 cannot be seen when the left controller 3 is attached to the main unit 2. That is, the indicator LED 45 is used when the left controller 3 is detached from the main unit 2. 

The left controller 3 includes a pairing button 46. In the present embodiment, the pairing button 46 is used to give an instruction for a setting (referred to also as pairing) process regarding wireless communication between the left controller 3 and the main unit 2, and to give an instruction for a resetting process of resetting the left controller 3. Note that in other embodiments, the pairing button 46 may only serve to instruct one of the setting process and the resetting process.

 

Right Joy-Con Has Infrared Sensor

A window portion 68 is provided in the lower side surface of the housing 51. The right controller 4 includes an infrared image-capturing section (an infrared image-capturing section 123 shown in FIG. 31), the details of which will be described later, to detect a hand movement and/or the gesture, etc., of the user by means of the infrared image-capturing section 123. The window portion 68 is provided so as to allow the camera of the infrared image-capturing section 123 arranged inside the housing 51 to capture an image around the right controller 4. The window portion 68 is provided for protecting the lens of the camera of the infrared image-capturing section 123, and is made of a material (e.g., a transparent material) that allows light of a wavelength to be detected by the camera to pass therethrough. Note that the window portion 68 may be a hole formed in the housing 51. Note that in the present embodiment, the infrared image-capturing section 123 itself has a filter member for suppressing the transmission therethrough of light of wavelengths other than the light (in the present embodiment, infrared light) to be detected by the camera. Note however that in other embodiments, the window portion may have a filter function.

 

Joy-Con Can Be Held Vertically

We knew the Joy-Cons would be versatile, with many modes of play. I didn’t anticipate holding it like this though:

When a user holds a controller in one hand, the controller can be held in such a manner that operation sections provided on the side surface of the controller are operated using the thumb. FIG. 36 is a diagram showing an example of how the right controller 4 is held in one hand. As shown in FIG. 36, a user can hold the right controller 4 by holding the housing 51 in the palm in such a manner that the first R button 60 and the ZR button 61 can be operated using the thumb. That is, it can be said that the first R button 60 and the ZR button 61 are provided at such positions that they can be operated using the thumb when the housing 51 is held in the palm of the user. In such a manner, a user can use the controller as if it were the control stick of an airplane, for example. 

 

Multiple Joy-Cons Can Be Used On A Single Switch

Well, at least we know it’s possible to play 4-player split-screen on a tiny Switch tablet! This probably won’t be the ideal way to play most games, but I could see some games, like Jackbox Party games or others that don’t require a split-screen could work rather well. Obviously when docked this wouldn’t be a problem since your TV is hopefully bigger then the Switch’s screen!

 

Other Joy-Cons Could Be Sold

This is one idea that immediately took hold over the Internet when it was speculated that the NX (Switch) would have detachable controllers. It makes sense for Nintendo (and possibly third parties) to provide unique controller setups for different types of games. One of my biggest concerns with the default Switch Joy-Con setup is that the Left Joy-Con doesn’t have a D-Pad. In many games this isn’t a concern, but I like to play my 2D platform games like Mario with a traditional cross pad that Nintendo is known for. So, it would be nice to be able to purchase different Joy-Cons to accommodate different people’s preferences.

In the images below, Fig. 48 makes sense to have equipped when playing 2D games on the Switch itself. The D-Pad will allow for exact movements and would be necessary for fighting games as well. Fig. 49 might even be better for those who want to only use digital controls. It’s also handy to use this Joy-Con detached to play NES or SNES games (you’d hold the Joy-Con sideways to facilitate this).

Fig. 50 shows that if you liked the Wii U GamePad button configuration, you could get a Right Joy-Con to match up so the stick are symmetrical. It seems like the sky is the limit on what kind of controller configuration you want. The real question will be how many different Joy-Cons will be made available and how much will they cost?

In the present embodiment, the controllers can be attached and detached to and from the main unit. Therefore, there may be provided a left controller different from the left controller shown in FIG. 5, and the other left controller may be attached to the main unit. Moreover, there may be provided a right controller different from the right controller shown in FIG. 6, and the other right controller may be attached to the main unit. That is, in the present embodiment, controllers attached to the main unit may be detached therefrom and other controllers may be attached thereto.

FIG. 48 and FIG. 49 are diagrams each showing another example left controller. A left controller 201 shown in FIG. 48, as compared with the left controller shown in FIG. 5, includes a cross-shaped key 202, instead of the operation buttons 33 to 36. A left controller 203 shown in FIG. 49, as compared with the left controller shown in FIG. 5, includes a cross-shaped key 204, instead of the analog stick 32. Thus, another controller may have a different function from the controllers shown in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6.

FIG. 50 is a diagram showing an example information processing device with a right controller that is different from that of FIG. 1. In FIG. 50, another right controller 205, instead of the right controller 4 shown in FIG. 6, is attached to the main unit 2. On the right controller 205, as compared with the right controller 4 shown in FIG. 6, the arrangement of the analog stick 52 and the four operation buttons 53 to 56 is reversed. Thus, for an information processing device 1′ shown in FIG. 50, the arrangement of the analog stick and the four operation buttons is symmetric between the left controller and the right controller. That is, in the present embodiment, the arrangement of the operation section on the information processing device 1 can be changed by changing the controller to be attached to the main unit 2. Thus, the information processing system may include other controllers having different arrangements from the controllers 3 and 4, in addition to (or instead of) the controllers 3 and 4.

 

Switch Dock (Cradle) – Charges Switch / USB Hub

The Dock charges the Switch and enables it to display to the TV. It has USB ports so you can hook up compatible accessories.

FIG. 28 is a diagram showing an overall configuration of an example information processing system according to the present embodiment. As described above, the information processing system includes the information processing device 1 and the cradle 5. As shown in FIG. 28, the information processing device 1 can be placed in the cradle 5. The cradle 5 can communicate (either via wired communication or wireless communication) with a TV 6, which is an example of an external display device separate from the display 12. When the information processing device 1 is placed in the cradle 5, the information processing system can display images obtained or produced by the information processing device 1 on the TV 6, the details of which will be described later. In the present embodiment, the cradle 5 has a function of charging the information processing device 1 placed therein and a function as a hub device (specifically, a USB hub).

Note that in FIG. 29, the information processing device 1 is placed in the cradle 5 so that the primary surface of the main unit 2 (i.e., the surface of the display 12) faces the second support 72. Note however that in the present embodiment, the information processing device 1 may be placed in the cradle 5 so that the reverse surface of the main unit 2 faces the second support 72. That is, in the present embodiment, a user can place the information processing device 1 in the cradle 5 in the front-facing orientation (i.e., an orientation such that the display 12 can be seen), or place the information processing device 1 in the cradle 5 in the back-facing orientation (i.e., an orientation such that the display 12 is hidden).

As shown in FIG. 29, the cradle 5 includes a sleep button 74. The sleep button 74 is button for switching between the ON mode and the sleep mode of the main unit 2 attached to the cradle 5. Note that in other embodiments, the sleep button 74 may have the function of turning ON/OFF the power of the main unit 2, in addition to (or instead of) the function of switching between the ON mode and the sleep mode of the main unit 2.

Note that in the present embodiment, the sleep button 74 is provided on the front surface of the first support 71. The sleep button 74 may be provided at any position such that the sleep button 74 can be pressed down with the information processing device 1 attached to the cradle 5. For example, the sleep button 74 may be provided on the side surface of the housing of the cradle 5 or on the back surface of the second support 72.

In the present embodiment, the sleep button 74 includes a light-emitting portion (specifically, LED). The light-emitting portion of the sleep button 74 is used to indicate, to the user, the status of the main unit 2 attached to the cradle 5. That is, the light-emitting portion varies how light is emitted (in other words, how it is lit) depending on the status of the main unit 2 attached to the cradle 5. For example, in the present embodiment, the light-emitting portion is lit when the main unit 2 attached to the cradle 5 is in the ON mode, and the light-emitting portion is turned OFF when the main unit 2 is in the sleep mode or in the power-off mode. Moreover, when the main unit 2 has information that should be indicated to the user (e.g., program update information, announcement, advertisement, etc.), the light-emitting portion blinks. Note that the light-emitting portion does not need to be provided on the sleep button 74, but it may be provided at any position on the housing of the cradle 5, for example.

In the present embodiment, the main unit outputs image and sound signals to the cradle  as a display port signal (i.e., a signal in accordance with the DisplayPort standard). In the present embodiment, communication based on the HDMI (registered trademark) standard is used for communication between the cradle 5 and the TV. In the present embodiment, the cradle includes a plurality (more specifically, three) of USB terminals.

 

When In “Portable” Mode, Switch Limits CPU/GPU & Lowers Resolution

This one isn’t a surprise, but it is a validation of theories on how the Switch would work. When you are using it as a handheld device, the system is running at a slower CPU and GPU speed. This is to conserve battery and also because it is powering a lower resolution screen. Also, it could be to avoid the system from getting too hot while on-the-go. Once you place the Switch back in the Dock, the full capacity of the CPU and GPU will resume and the resolution can be increased as fans will kick in to keep the system cool.

 

In the present embodiment, in the portable mode, the clock frequency range over which the CPU is allowed to operate is limited. In the present embodiment, the clock frequency at which the CPU is allowed to operate can be specified within a predetermined range by the program executed on the main unit. In the portable mode, the range over which a clock frequency can be specified by the program is limited as compared with that in the console mode. For example, the range over which a clock frequency can be specified in the console mode is X1 [Hz] or less, whereas it is limited to X2 (<X1) [Hz] in the portable mode. Note that if the main unit includes a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) in addition to a CPU, the range of processing power (i.e., clock frequency) may be limited for the CPU and/or for the GPU.

In the present embodiment, in the portable mode, the image rendering capacity (which can also be referred to as the image generating capacity) is limited. Specifically, in the portable mode, the resolution (in other words, the number of pixels) of images generated by the main unit 2 is lower than that in the console mode. 

With the limitation above, the amount of computation to be executed on the main unit is limited in portable mode, and it is therefore possible to reduce the heat generation and the power consumption of the main unit.

In the present embodiment, in the portable mode, the operation of the cooling fan is limited. Specifically, in the portable mode, the rotations per minute (rpm) at which the cooling fan is allowed to operate (in other words, the fan speed) is limited to be lower than the highest rpm at which the cooling fan is allowed to operate in the console mode. For example, in the portable mode, the cooling fan is controlled to operate at a predetermined rpm or less, which is lower than the maximum rpm. 

With the limitation above, it is possible to reduce the operation noise of the cooling fan. In the portable mode, it is assumed that a user uses the main unit close to the user. In view of this, in the present embodiment, since the operation noise of the cooling fan can be reduced in the portable mode, it is possible to reduce the possibility that the user may feel the operation noise is too loud. 

On the other hand, the console mode is a mode in which the information processing device is used as a console-type device. In the console mode, images obtained or produced by the information processing device are displayed on the TV. The sound obtained or produced by the information processing device is output from the speaker of the TV. In the console mode, the function suppressions in the portable mode are lifted. That is, in the console mode, the limitations described above are lifted. Therefore, in the console mode, a program running on the information processing device 1 can make better use of the processing power of the CPU 81. The information processing device 1 can display, on the TV, images of a higher resolution than in the portable mode. The information processing device can be cooled by the cooling fan more effectively than in the portable mode. 

 

Switch HMD (Head-Mounted Display) (VR)

Here’s the part where we caution that just because something is patented, it doesn’t mean it’s in the works. Companies patent things all the time that never see the light of day. It is nice to see Nintendo thinking about the VR scene though.

The information processing system may include an accessory to which the main unit can be attached. An HMD accessory to be described below as an example accessory can be used as a so-called HMD (head mounted display) with the main unit attached thereto.

FIG. 60 is a diagram showing an example HMD accessory to which the main unit can be attached. An HMD accessory 230 shown in FIG. 60 includes a housing 231 and belts 232a and 232b. One end of the belt 232a is attached to one end of the housing 231, and one end of the belt 232b is attached to the other end of the housing 231. Although not shown in the figure, the other end of the belt 232a can be removably connected to the other end of the belt 232b. Thus, the housing 231 can be mounted on the head of the user by connecting together the two belts 232a and 232b around the head of the user. Note that there is no particular limitation on the mechanism for allowing the HMD accessory 230 to be mounted on the head of the user.

As shown in FIG. 60, the housing 231 includes two openings 231a. The openings 231a are located so as to face the eyes of the user with the housing 231 mounted on the head of the user. Although not shown in the figure, the HMD accessory 230 includes a lens provided in each of the openings 231a.

Moreover, as shown in FIG. 60, the housing 231 includes an insertion slot 231b for receiving the main unit attached thereto (or inserted thereinto). That is, the main unit can be attached to the HMD accessory 230 by inserting the main unit into the insertion slot 231b. If the main unit is attached so that the display 12 is facing the openings 231a, the display 12 can be viewed through the lenses through the openings 231a. That is, the housing 231 supports the display 12 so that the user can view the display 12 of the main unit.

With such a configuration, a user can view images on the display 12 when the HMD accessory 230 with the main unit attached thereto is mounted on the head of the user. That is, the HMD accessory 230 with the main unit attached thereto functions as a so-called HMD. Note that the HMD accessory 230 may present images of a wide viewing angle to a user by enlarging the viewing angle of the images on the display 12 through the lenses. This can enhance the sense of immersion for a user looking at the images. Note that the main unit may perform a predetermined conversion process on the images displayed on the display 12 so that appropriate images are viewed through the lenses. 

Note that in the present embodiment, the main unit includes the acceleration sensor 89 and the angular velocity sensor 90, and can calculate the movement and/or the attitude of the main unit based on the detection results of these sensors. Therefore, the main unit can calculate the movement and/or the attitude of the HMD accessory 230 to which the main unit is attached, and perform a predetermined process in accordance with the movement and/or the attitude. Note that the predetermined process, for example, is a process of controlling a virtual camera for producing images to be displayed on the display 12 based on the movement and/or the attitude of the HMD accessory 230, and more specifically is a process of changing the line-of-sight direction of the virtual camera depending on the attitude, for example.

In the present embodiment, the controllers 3 and 4 may be used while they are removed from the main unit. Therefore, even with the main unit attached to the HMD accessory 230, the controllers  can be used as controller devices. That is, a user can operate the controllers using the hands while the HMD accessory 230 with the main unit attached thereto is mounted on the head of the user.

As described above, the information processing device of the present embodiment, with the use of the HMD accessory 230 described above, can be used in a mode in which it is used as an HMD. In the present embodiment, since the controllers can be removed from the main unit, it is possible to reduce the weight of the device or devices to be mounted on the head of the user. A user can perform operations using removed controllers. 

 

Miscellaneous Notes

Some of the patent images weren’t worth posting just for one or two pieces of information, but it’s important nuggets nonetheless. First up, according to the patent, the Switch has an ambient light sensor, which can adjust the brightness of the screen based on the lighting conditions of the environment. This can help save on battery life and is a nice quality of life feature. The Switch also has an acceleration sensor and velocity sensor for motion detection, similar to the 3DS.

The Joy-Cons have their own acceleration and velocity sensors as well as vibration motors for rumble. The right Joy-Con also has an NFC communicator and the aforementioned infrared sensor:

 

The right controller includes an NFC communication section. The NFC communication section implements near-field wireless communication in accordance with a conventional NFC (Near Field Communication) standard. The NFC communication section has the function of a so-called NFC reader/writer. For example, the NFC communication section includes an antenna used for the near-field wireless communication, and a circuit (e.g., an NFC chip) for generating a signal (radio wave) to be transmitted from the antenna. Note that the near-field wireless communication is not limited to those based on the NFC standard, but may also be any proximity communication (referred to also as non-contact communication). The proximity communication for example includes communication schemes in which one device generates an electromotive force on the other device by radio waves therefrom (e.g., through electromagnetic induction).

The right controller includes the infrared image-capturing section. The infrared image-capturing section includes an infrared camera for capturing an image in a region around the right controller. In the present embodiment, the infrared image-capturing section is used to capture an image of a hand of a user. The information processing device identifies an input made with the hand (e.g., a gesture input, etc.) based on information (e.g., the position, the size, the shape, etc.) of the hand of which the image has been captured. The infrared image-capturing section can rely on ambient infrared illumination, or in one example includes an illuminating section for outputting infrared light. The illuminating section outputs infrared light in synchronism with the timing at which the infrared camera captures an image, for example. The infrared light output from the illuminating section is reflected by an object (e.g., a hand of a user), and the reflected infrared light is received by the infrared camera, thus obtaining an image of the infrared light. Thus, it is possible to obtain a clearer infrared light image. Note that while the infrared image-capturing section including an infrared camera is used in the present embodiment, a visible light camera (a camera using a visible light image sensor) or other image sensor may be used, instead of an infrared camera, as an image-capturing device, in other embodiments.

The main unit 2 can also capture an image of a hand of a user (specifically, the vein pattern of the hand) by means of the infrared image-capturing section, to thereby authenticate (specifically, by vein authentication) a user based on the captured image. Moreover, the main unit can also measure the pulse of a user by capturing an image of a hand of the user by means of the infrared image-capturing section. That is, where infrared light output onto and reflected by a hand of a user is detected by the infrared image-capturing section, the main unit can calculate the pulse of the user based on changes in the reflected waves. 

The Switch has a battery, and so do each of the Joy-Con controllers. Since the Joy-Cons are able to be detached and used on their own, they will eventually need to be recharged. We figured that reattaching them to the Switch and placing the Switch in the dock would facilitate this, and indeed, that is the case. However, what’s interesting is that if you have the Switch out of the dock, but still have the Joy-Cons connected, the Switch will check the battery levels of the Joy-Cons and charge them from its own battery if needed:

 

Moreover, in other embodiments, the main unit may charge controllers when the main unit is not attached to the cradle. This reduces the possibility that a user can no longer play because the battery of the controller has run out even though the battery of the main unit is still charged sufficiently. As described above, in the present embodiment, the battery of the main unit has a greater charging capacity than the battery of a controller. Thus, it is possible to further reduce such a possibility described above.

 

Conclusion

It’s not often we get patents so detailed and well illustrated before a product launches. Many times they will surface after the device has hit the market. Many of the small details are very interesting and it will be nice to see which ones make it into the final Switch product. Remember, everything that’s been patented won’t necessarily make it into the retail version. Still, it’s impressive that what is known about the system seems to be represented in the patents. We will find out much more on January 12 when Nintendo hosts its live presentation from Japan and the following day on January 13 when the press gets to go hands-on the Switch. As always, we will update you on the latest on everything Nintendo.

 

[Sources: USPTO & NeoGAF]

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He’s currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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