A European patent filed by the Japanese company last year, which was recently published and spotted by the Gamechup blog, details a gamepad with a screen, similar to that of the , which will track your movement using the glowing light on the side of the device, much like the .
It's not entirely surprising that Sony would give a PlayStation peripheral the 'eye' suffix, given that it's previously launched the 'Eye Toy' and the 'PlayStation Eye', but it does seem cheeky that it's seemingly chosen a name that so closely resembles .
The patent suggests the EyePad will have a touchscreen at its centre, but the edges will glow -- so it can be picked up by the PlayStation Eye and track your movement. The device also offers two stereoscopic cameras, which according to the patent will be used to detect motion above the screen, meaning you will be able to prod objects which are a closer representation of real life, in a 3D environment.
There's also a suggestion of a future game that may be launched with the PlayStation 4 and the EyePad. The game, called EyePets, will work in much the same way as other pet-stroking games, most notably Nintendogs and , but with the ability to stroke and groom the digital critters in 3D.
While there's no promising this will ever make it to shops -- after all, companies constantly file patents they never intend to use -- it doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility. Sony has followed Nintendo's lead before, with the PlayStation Move controller resembling a more advanced version of the Wii remote.
Sony's not the only company rumoured to be working on a gaming tablet -- Microsoft is expected to launch Xbox.with the next-generation
Whether or not the device will launch with the 'EyePad' name is also distinctly uncertain, given Apple has never been slow to get its lawyers involved. But if the EyePad is due to be released this year, we'll no doubt see it at Sony's press conference on Wednesday.
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Additional reporting by Jordan O'Brien.