U.S. Patent no. 10,322,336: Haptic braille output for a game controller

Issued June 18, 2019 to Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC
Priority Date February 28, 2017

U.S. Patent No. 10,322,336 (the ‘336 Patent) relates to video game controllers. The controller is the way any player engages and interacts with most video games. However, controllers and video games themselves pose inherent difficulties for people who are visually-impaired or blind. Text heavy games are especially difficult for this group. Games with complex graphics and also quick movements, such as fighting games, also provide further problems for this group of users. The ‘336 Patent addresses a game controller system including a Braille accessory. This controller allows for the user to receive output similar to other Braille devices as well as other accessibility related output. The controller is designed to fit in the hands of an average user and contains the other features one would expect from a controller including triggers and joysticks. This invention could represent a significant step in increasing the accessibility of video games to those who are visually-impaired.

A game controller with haptic Braille chording capability. While a conventional game controller are geared to sighted players, the disclosed controller configurations include various adaptations that provide alternative input and outputs to facilitate game play by sight-impaired or blind users, as well as other users knowledgeable of Braille. A number of paddles may be arranged on a game controller housing so that a player may engage selected ones of the paddles to enable encoding braille characters using the paddles. This input may be used to control a game, enter text into a chat session or take any other action desired. The converse may also occur, where a combination of the paddles may provide haptic feedback detectable by a user holding a game controller so that the paddles encode braille output (or other data), allowing a user to receive output simply by contact with the paddles.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A game controller with haptic Braille chording capability, comprising: a plurality of paddles arranged as a Braille cell on a housing; a control circuit to translate a touch force applied to selected ones of the paddles into a Braille character input; and a first haptic feedback emitter coupled with at least one paddle of the plurality of paddles to generate a force, detectable by contact with the at least one paddle, corresponding to a portion of a Braille character output.