Nintendo's consoles could know when you come home.
A recently published patent application reveals Nintendo's plans for a system where the Wii detects Nintendo 3DS units in their proximity.
When returning home with a 3DS, the Wii (U)-connected television screen would announce the user's arrival and display the number of steps the user has taken since last leaving the house. Alternatively, the console's indicator light could flash. The system works by periodically checking for 3DS wireless communication. If the portable system has been out of communication for a set time, the home console considers that the user has left the house.
The system could also detect pedometer cheating, whereby users shake the system quickly to rack up their step count. If the count seems impossibly high for the amount of time that has passed, it will be considered cheating. Nintendo doesn't say whether there will be any penalty for doing this; it is strictly used to help decide whether the person has left the house.
While this feature has not been made available on the Wii, no special 3DS-Wii connectivity features have been utilized. The example drawing shows a DS system, which does not include an accelerometer for pedometer capabilities, but it is common for early patent diagrams to include previous system designs, a fact that is also true for many of the Wii U patent applications. It is possible that the function will appear on the Wii U, with its improved communication features. The application also provides for the possibility of notifying other devices, such as PCs and mobile phones.
The home console can download updates intended for the handheld. When the user returns home, the console sends updates to the 3DS, which is a feature previously mentioned as a possibility for the Wii U. Some possible updates mentioned include user-generated maps for racing games and contest results.
The application lists Yoshikazu Yamashita as the inventor. Yamashita has worked on games such as the Wii Sports series, the Flagship-developed Zelda games, and the Pikmin series. The patent was filed for on Dec. 10, 2010 in Japan and Oct. 5, 2011 in the US. It was published on Jun. 21, 2012.