Intel Filed A Patent Application They're Still Laughing At In The Patent Office
You probably know Intel for just manufacturing computer chips. Mainly, you know them for not manufacturing enough computer chips, which has resulted in the entire world slowing down lately. But they also have a bunch of other divisions, including their Internet of Things Group.
The Internet of Things is a terribly named concept that refers to devices communicating. These are devices you normally don't associate with communications (so, think refrigerators, not PCs), and they don't necessarily connect using the internet (like we said, it's a terrible name). It was this Internet of Things Group of Intel's that decided to get really creative and patent a device they called a magic wand.
The proposed Intel magic wand can pick up your voice commands—called "spells"—and relay them to your phone to operate a bunch of other devices. Probably, you could accomplish the same thing by using your phone directly, with the right software. But the magic wand could accept gestures as well as voice commands as input, using sensor tech even beyond what phones have. So, you could, in theory, say "alohomora" to your wand to unlock your smart door, or you could configure it to turn up the volume when you draw a dick in the air.
If all this still just sounds like a remote control with extra steps, Intel highlighted something slightly more exciting in their patent application: wizard duels. You and a foe could each own a wand and wave at each other while screaming to engage in magical combat. Wizard dueling is just one of the many uses Intel listed in their 45,000-word application—we'll be honest, we didn't read the whole thing—but they considered duels cool enough to mention them right in the title.
So, maybe we can expect wands to go for sale not too long after they filed the patent, which was ... wait, they filed this in April 2015? Seven years ago? What happened, where are our magic wands?
We don't know for sure, but it's possible Intel shelved the plan when they discovered that waving a device around to send commands isn't that cool after all. In gaming anyway, even when motion controls work perfectly, which is rare, they're not nearly as fun as the idea sounds. They're in fact fun for exactly how long it takes you to marvel that the device is able to sense your movements, after which it becomes just a far more tiring replacement for a button.
The patent application does say something about augmented reality, and VR is perhaps the one arena in which motion controls are fun, but competing VR companies have a head start on making motion-sensing hand thingies, leaving Intel with nothing but some wordy vague ideas.
Maybe Intel figured out that the real money's in the traditional video gaming market, which is why they went into producing their own graphics cards in the years since filing the patent. Of course, there are still kids who like playing with each other outside in person instead of through video games, but such kids have imaginations and no need for Intel devices, and also have the power to harness actual magic.
Top image: Warner Bros.