I was flipping through some of the Digg upcoming stories when I saw one that referenced a patent for the Wii-mote (Nintendo Wii controller) that was filed back in 1993. It really caught my attention so I pulled up the Google Patent page that it linked to so that I could see for myself what the buzz was about. The item being patented is pictured above and this is the description of the unit:

A wireless remote control system is provided. The remote control system includes a remote unit and a receiver unit, and may be utilized in connection with a video game system or other controllable system. The receiver unit includes a plurality of detectors for detecting a signal transmitted by a remote unit. An angle-limiting device is coupled to each detector for limiting the signal which may be received by the particular detector to that signal which is transmitted from a particular location. In one embodiment, the angle-limiting device may limit the signal received by the detector to that signal transmitted from within a specified angular range relative to the detector. In a preferred embodiment, the angle-limiting devices coupled to the plurality of detectors may be arranged so that each angle-limiting device allows a signal to be received by the respective detector from a unique angular region. In another embodiment, the angular regions may be overlapping.

That sounds pretty close to the Wii-mote to me, and then in the claims it goes into further details saying:

14. The remote control system receiver according to claim 1, wherein said controllable device is a video game.

15. The remote control system receiver according to claim 1, wherein said controllable device is a Nintendo Entertainment System.

Ahh, don’t you just love the jibber jabber language that makes up these patents. It’s like they try to word it in such a way that it doesn’t even make sense except to themselves.

I’m wondering if this is really the patent for the Wii-mote or if it is just something similar that was once invented. If Nintendo really did use this then the inventor, Howerd Oakford, has surely got to be filthy rich by now. Well, maybe he will donate some of the money to the people who have been injured by the Wii (because of carelessness).