In 2003 Sony filed a patent application in the US at the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a responsive handheld device, applicable to the glut of such devices modern life in the West would be lost without.
Claim 1 An electrorheological fluid device, characterized by comprising: a container capable of containing fluid internally; a pair of electrodes having flexibility, disposed in said container so as to oppose each other; and an electrorheological fluid contained in said container and disposed between said electrodes, and having an elastic property changeable in accordance with an electric field generated between said electrodes.
In other words, covering an exciting new development of handheld devices such as computers, phones and games consoles. Devices that would fold up to fit in your pocket. Very neat but the killer technical jargon covers a further step – it is for devices which then assume a rigid form only when you’re ready to use them. No smutty jokes please.
This allows for the opposite, namely a softening of the device in certain situations, let us say for instance a softening of your television remote controller whenever, say, Margaret Thatcher appears on your television.
The application could be applied to game controllers created endless possibilities and finally a strong contender to the ubiquitous Wii (N.B. currently a subject of patent litigation, see another of our articles). You wonder how serious it is though as a PCT was filed, then only the US, Oz, Korea, Japan and China according to espacenet.
Last word to the patent â€œIn the present invention is a fluid such that application of an electric field to electrodes causes the substance disposed between the electrodes to remarkably change in viscosity.â€ Sounds truly remarkable – fingers, or should that be legs, crossed.