Unearthed: Nintendo 2001 Prototype Motion-Sensing One-Handed Controller by Gyration

GyroPod_3Frames.jpgIn an alternative Universe, this is what the Nintendo Wii's Wiimote and nunchuck would have looked like: this is the amazing transforming GyroPod, a motion-sensing gamepad prototype that Gyration made for Nintendo back in 2001.

Thanks to a recent chance encounter, we were able to uncover a couple of PowerPoint slides that showed the GyroPod, a prototype design for a one-handed motion sensing controller designed specifically by Gyration for Nintendo. Here's the back story: Gyration is a company that holds most of the best motion-sensing patents. Nintendo licensed a number of those patents from Gyration in 2001, and brought the company on board that year to develop a one-handed controller. (Nintendo even became an investor in Gyration, which is now owned by Thomson.)

In one of the first meetings with Nintendo's people, Gyration designers brought these animated slides to the conference room. I am a fan of the breakaway handle, and some of you may appreciate the fact that the controller forms one solid piece when connected, rather than the current Wii-mote and Nunchuk setup.

Slide 1: GyroPod_Slide_1.jpgStill, you can't argue that even Gyration understood the new world that was opening up with one-handed motion. The following game slide depicts only the most obvious action, and doesn't come close to foreshadowing the greatest game of all (IMHO): Wii Tennis. (Maybe that's on a missing slide?)

Slide 2: GyroPod_Slide_2.jpg Animation frames from slide 2: Slide_2_Animation.jpg Thanks Greg and Zac!