The Playstation Banana

I’ve been reading about Diogenes the Cynic lately. Not so much about his philosophy, but rather how he bummed around Greece, dunking on noteworthy people of the time, including Plato and Alexander the Great. By all accounts he was a tremendous jerk, which just goes to show you that history will forgive you as long as your burns are sick enough.

Anyway, one of his more famous stunts was showing up to Plato’s school after they tried to define humans as “featherless bipeds.” Diogenes plucked a chicken and showed up, yelling, “BEHOLD! A MAN!”

This is kind of like that. It’s a system and method for generating user inputs for a video game.

USPP 2021/0031110, FIG. 8

A camera watches you hold your banana. As you twist and turn your banana, the system translates those motions into controls for the game. The application is quick to point out that any object may be used, but nobody would be talking about it if they had drawn a coffee cup or ruler instead.

In fact, you can use more than one banana. As they move and rotate relative to one another, different commands can be generated:

USPP 2021/0031110, FIG. 6
“[T]he user’s fingers are not shown for reasons of clarity.”

I think it probably makes the most sense in an augmented reality environment, where you wear glasses that give you an overlay on real objects. Then you can program the system to make the bananas look like anything. But to the rest of the world you’ll still look like someone swinging fruit around in the air, so it’s best to play with your bananas in the privacy of your own home.

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