Nintendo's fitness-focused horseshoe is its weirdest controller idea yet

nintendo horseshoe controller

Nintendo has filed a patent for what appears to be a fitness peripheral which features motion and temperature sensors in addition to more traditional control buttons.

The patent, which NeoGaf user Rösti posted on the gaming forum, bears more than a passing resemblance to Sony's infamous 'boomerang' controller for the Playstation 3 (which was later dropped in favor of the Sixaxis).

However, unlike the boomerang, the patent describes a controller which is held with the connecting section facing the user, much like Microsoft's Xbox 360 wireless steering wheel.

The patent describes how the two grips can be brought together and separated in a way which is detected by a sensor within the device. This suggests functionality akin to a two-handed grip strengthener.

nintendo horeshoe controller

Another illustration within the patent shows a user performing a squat.

nintendo horeshoe controller

Nintendo's Quality of Life

Whether this new device could be part of Nintendo's new console, the NX, is unclear. It could easily be a peripheral planned for the Wii U that never sees the light of day.

It's not Nintendo's first foray into the health and fitness market beyond the original Wii, either. Back in 2014 the company started teasing its 'Quality of Life' program.

The program's first product, a sleep tracking device which would have monitored a user's sleep without actually needing to be worn, was announced in late 2014 before being quietly cancelled earlier this year.

At the time, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said, "we still believe there are things we can do in the general category of Quality of Life, and we will continue to study the possibility of expanding into this field."

Back in 2009, Nintendo announced the Vitality Sensor in its E3 press conference. The device was a heart rate monitor that would clip onto a user's finger, and was expected to join the balance board in Nintendo's Wii Fit lineup. The device went unmentioned for several years before being cancelled in 2013.

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.