Sony Interactive Entertainment has revealed a bizarre patent filed with US Patent and Trademark Office in the form of a robot friend that will allegedly be able to watch movies, play games with users, and even sympathize with them. The company describes the robot as a “human-type pet-type robot.” The innovation does not have an official name yet and is simply referred to as a “feeling deduction unit.”

Sony patented a friend robot for lonesome gamers
Image: US Patent and Trademark Office/Sony

It is worth noting that the image provided in the patent application does not represent the actual look of the robot, but is just a rough doodle instead. It seems like the general idea of Sony was to simply create a companion that can empathize as well as build trusted and long-term relationships with gamers.

According to the patent, the robot buddy is described as followed:

The inventor has focused on possibility of utilizing a robot as a joint viewing player who experiences sympathy with a user. For example, it is expected that the user's affinity with the robot is increased and motivation for playing a game is enhanced by the robot viewing the game play next to the user and being pleased or sad together with the user. Further, regarding not only the game but also a movie, a television program, or the like, it is expected that the user may enjoy content more by viewing the content with the robot as compared to the case of viewing it alone.

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This way, the so-called “joint viewing player” will feature a “feeling deduction” unit that will help the robot recognize the owner’s feelings and emotions and respond and react back appropriately. The robot (or a VR avatar) will use several biometric and motion sensors along with microphones and cameras to determine the owner’s mood, behavior, and emotions. It will express joy when you win and groan with you when you lose.

The robot will also act as an autonomous AI opponent that will be able to play games with users. According to Sony, this will increase gamers’ motivation while playing.

Sony's patented robot features a feeling deduction unit
Image: US Patent and Trademark Office/Sony

The picture above depicts how players and the robot could actually interact.

“A user places a robot nearby and views contents together, while the robot communicates with the user by outputting a reaction to empathize with the user or outputting a reaction against the user conversely, on the basis of a deduced user's feeling,” the patent says.

According to the patent, the robot will also come with a “love index” to analyze a gamer’s behavior towards the creature.

If the user strokes the head of the robot, the feeling deduction unit deduces that the evaluation value of the user's 'love' index is 'positive,' whereas if the user kicks the robot 20, the feeling deduction unit 100 deduces that the evaluation value of the user's 'love' index to 'negative.'

The VR version of the robot could get associated with the new PlayStation 5 hardware, although nothing on this matter is specified in the patent.

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Even though Sony’s latest patent is rather fascinating, it may well never go into production as a filed patent does not guarantee that the idea of the device will ever be implemented.