Sony Patents 'EyePad' Touchscreen Gaming Device (PICTURES)

Sorry Apple - Sony has filed a patent on the EyePad.

According to a parent application filed in Europe in 2012, the electronics giant registered the innovation of a tablet device with glowing edges.

The device - named in line with Sony's "EyeToy" and "PlayStation Eye" gaming peripherals, would work as a motion-tracking controller.

It is possible the device could be announced on Wednesday when Sony unveils 'the future of PlayStation', widely expected to be its next generation gaming console.

A host of on-board sensors on the EyePad would track its position, its six-direction orientation and any trackable nearby objects. The illuminated edges would tell the PlayStation where the device was in the room, and how close it is to other players.

This would work in a similar way to the existing PlayStation Move motion-tracked controller, which also uses illumination to pinpoint a device in 3D space.

It has been rumoured that the new PS4 gamepad will also have this functionality built-in.

According to the filing, the EyePad would have a touchscreen in the centre, but also be able to detect motion happening above the surface due to its dual-mounted cameras.

Sony suggests the possibility of an 'EyePets' game, where the EyePad could be used to stroke and groom virtual animals.

The patent says:

"The user may then carry the EyePad and the superposed EyePet around their room, with the EyePet being scaled and rotated accordingly to appear to remain sat upon the EyePad."

"This gives the user the precision to stroke the EyePet's ear, tap its nose, tickle its tummy or otherwise interact with it in very specific ways, and moreover to do so for whatever arbitrary."

Sony also images a virtual fishtank, a 3D roller coaster or a normal adventure game, which could all be controlled via the touchscreen and its stereoscopic cameras.

There's no firm details on when - or if - the EyePad will make it to market, and whether that will be the final name (we imagine Apple might contest that...) But it's an intriguing glimpse into the more central role that motion tracking could play in the next generation of gaming.