Wii U controller has its own flash memory, magnetic sensor, and other components we didn’t know about

A recently filed patent for the Wii U’s controller reveals a few hardware elements we didn’t know about. Most notably, the controller – which is said to be completely dependent on the Wii U console – appears to have built-in flash memory. The amount of this memory is unknown, which means it could be for anything from simply remembering the console the controller is synced to to more elaborate uses like storing Miis or game data. Maybe you’ll be able to take your controller to a friend’s place – an idea we’ve heard Nintendo has been looking into – and bring your save data with you for a multiplayer game? I’d love to hear your own ideas in the comments.

Lots more details and an image gallery after the break!

The patent also reveals the existence of a CPU and a magnetic sensor. The CPU, before you get excited, is only there to communicate with the console and to decompress the incoming image stream for the screen, but the magnetic sensor is a curious little feature we haven’t heard about until now. From what I can decipher in the patent’s legal speak, it is used to track the controller’s azimuth relative to the earth’s magnetic field – a fancy way of saying it tracks which direction you’ve pointed it in without relying on the TV-mounted sensor bar like the Wii Remote does.

And speaking of sensor bars, the black strip over the controller’s touchscreen isn’t just for show, but is actually a cleverly designed sensor bar of its own that comes into play when you point a Wii Remote at it. Very cool.

Lastly, we’ve got confirmation of what that mysterious port on the bottom of the controller is. As the patent puts it, it is “an extension connector via which another device can be connected to the [controller]. [...] The device connected to the extension connector may be any device, and may be, for example, a game-specific controller (gun-shaped controller, etc.) or an input device such as a keyboard.” In other words, it’s not an HDMI port like some people speculated, but serves a similar purpose to the expansion port on the bottom of the Wii Remote.

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Comments, Reactions, and General Hooliganism

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  1. andodel

    Very interesting news. I like the idea of not having to use a sensor bar.

  2. Mariomaster1

    Hmmm, interesting, very, very interesting…….and awesome!

  3. Mukkinese

    I believe the magnetic sensor helps to alleviate the need for calibrating the other motion sensors, as we have to do with the motion-plus.

    I recently read that there is enough memory to carry information, within the new controller, so that you can take it to another Wii u and download or use it there, so Miis or saves, even player stats are likely.

    The thing we have yet to hear anything about is the infra-red emitter. Universal remote?

  4. Name (required)

    The sensor bar on the remote was already known about, it was revealed on the E3 website about a day after the Wii U was announced.

  5. emanuel

    hollywood gpu system centre had a arm cpu bet its just a arm 7/9 for basic stuff ,looks set up how i thought it would be…having memory isnt a biggy so does wii remote…

  6. my name is

    the magnetic thingy how about a real world north south east west in game ,,,real life compass on the screen ….just one of a million ideas in my head….

  7. Jenetty72

    Looks like a good portion of the total system’s cost will come from this swiss-army-type controller. There’s a LOT of stuff under the hood it seems.Who knows what else will be revealed by the time Wii-U comes out.