Apple has filed another interesting patent detailing some extremely interesting multi-player gaming possibilities. Patently Apple has referred to the patent as an “Interactive Laser Gaming Application and/or Framework.” Essentially, the new framework would allow iPhones to recreate what amounts to a game of laser tag.

Most people are familiar with laser tag, a game in which players wear light-sensitive vests that register a “hit” when shot by an infrared laser from another player’s gun. This new Apple patent describes a similar environment, in which the iPhone would act as the vest and gun…

Patently Apple summarizes the patent,

“An interactive game environment includes two or more co-located, networked, direction and location aware interactive game devices. The game devices share a common reference coordinate frame. Each game device maintains its own device state in the reference coordinate frame.

Each interactive game device shares its device state with the other interactive game devices using communication technology (e.g., Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular).

Each interactive game device can use the device states of the other interactive game devices to project the relative positions and orientations of the other interactive game devices into a local, fixed coordinate frame of the interactive game device.

These projections allow each interactive gaming device to know the position and orientation of the other interactive game devices in an interactive game environment defined by the reference coordinate frame.

An interactive game display could be generated and displayed on each game device. Various interactive games can utilize the relative positions and orientations shared between the interactive game devices to provide an enriched interactive gaming experience.”

Just in case you weren’t able to understand all of that jargon, this patent basically means we’ll all be playing “iWars” with our iPhones in no time. Patently Apple describes how this patent would be used in the specific case of laser tag,

“For a Laser Tag game (the result of the methods described above) are that as players point the devices at each other in the real world and “tag” each other. The mathematics described in the patent will determine whether a player has been tagged without the device actually projecting a laser beam or other light source in the real world.

If an interactive game display is used, player icons will appear and disappear from the respective displays of each device, as the game devices move about the real world environment. That is, the locations of the player icons on the respective displays will change position in the displays based on the relative locations of the game devices in the real world.”

I wouldn’t put it past Apple to design their own iPhone game around this concept. They have designed a game before (Texas Hold’em).

With the introduction of the Game Center in September, it is clear that Apple is getting serious about the world of mobile, multi-player gaming. An advanced, easy to use game that is like laser tag could be a big hit with the younger demographic of iOS users. Who knows, maybe adults would use it too.

If you would like a much more in-depth look at this patent, I suggest you read the Patently Apple article.

What about you? Could you see yourself running around and playing laser tag on your iPhone?

  • Tony

    Heck ya. Can’t wait

  • Steve

    There’s a game in the App Store (pretty old actually) that does laser tag, but only via color recognition.

    Adding location to verify hits is a good idea.

  • Glenn

    The patent sounds so generic. (“device state”, “communication device (e.g. bluetooth, wifi, cellular, etc.)”) In an ideal world, patents protect innovative concepts. These guys are patenting ANY kind of thought. They shouldn’t patent something they don’t intend to even utilize. This is almost like patent trolling, where they invest in a group of think-tankers to throw out a bunch of random ideas. Then when someone wants to build anything resembling this idea, Apple sues them.

    If you think about domain squatters, Apple is doing something just like that. Domain squatting is the act of purchasing a popular domain name early-on and at a cheap price without intending to actually use the domain name for a website. The intention is to hold the domain name for auction (ransom) when an actual entity wants to use that domain name.

    Apple stifles innovation, imho. Or should I say, they are hoarding innovation, since they do build quality products (but at a high cost to consumers).

    I think Apple is an evil company. Just my thoughts.

  • Nelson

    Does this mean there’s a possibility of universal remote apps on the iPhone? I’ve always wanted that :)))))

  • Patrick

    Yay for Barney Stinson!

  • Miles

    How would this prevent shooting people through walls? If it tracks orientation and position alone, you could still get hit while standing in a separate room. I’ve had the idea of making an app like this for a long time, but I’ve realized that it would be almost impossible to fix this problem, unless the user could define the boundaries or something. Even then, this just seems like a gimmick to me.