An EA patent wants to transcribe interface elements into haptic feedback

The gaming industry is changing at a rapid pace. Every year we see games push the technical boundaries. With all these improvements, accessibility has been a topic of much discussion in the gaming industry. Many notable developers want to make their games as accessible as possible and companies are finding ways to improve their games in the accessibility department.

A recent patent from Electronic Arts explains an important improvement the company can make to improve its games for the visually and hearing impaired.

The present invention introduces an in-game API wrapper to perform identification and transcription of in-game visual and audio data using identifiable tags. Tags identified for visual and audio data are sent to an external audio API to be transcribed into Morse code. The Morse code transcription is sent back to the game’s API wrapper to be haptically transcribed back. Tags identified for available on-screen button selections are transcribed by the game’s API wrapper into haptic feedback.

Haptic feedback in games can not only be used to create immersive experiences, but it can also be used to make games more accessible, as described in this patent. If someone has a visual or auditory problem, interface elements, whether visual or audio, can be transformed into haptic cues that the user can feel and understand, improving their overall experience. The patent reads as follows:

Users who are hard of hearing or visually impaired may face the problem of missing vital information transmitted through a medium that they cannot physically perceive or hear. “This limitation makes it difficult and inconvenient for hearing impaired users and visually impaired users to navigate and progress through a gaming application. Thus, a system and method for transmitting information to hearing and visually impaired users via haptic feedback is advantageous.

Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Dualsense is a great example of how haptics can play a vital role in our overall gaming experience. As described in the patent, these haptic concepts can also be used in various ways to enhance the gaming experience of special people.

The gaming industry has multiplied in recent years and now almost every household has a gaming platform for entertainment. The introduction of better and more accessible games and hardware can help more people enjoy this entertainment medium.