Sony has officially revealed the new DualSense (DualShock 5) wireless controller that promises to “deliver a new feeling of immersion” on PlayStation 5.
According to an announcement made earlier today, DualSense features “a built-in microphone array” – a first for the DualShock family – that will allow players to communicate online without the need of a headset. The part about the built-in microphone was already confirmed last year. However, the mention of an array – multiple microphones, not one – is the interesting bit.
Based on a patent that was filed back in February and was published just a day before the announcement, DualSense houses a “linear” array of at least three built-in microphones. They function in tandem to identify and isolate a sound source – the user – from the environment by using different sensors and tracking methods, particularly through the timing by which each microphone captures a sound. Following an analysis, the array of microphones will then be able to exclude sounds being produced by a certain region in the environment.
When three or more microphones are included in the array of microphones, it is possible to determine the location of a sound source relative to the microphone array [that] can be localized based on the relative timing of its sound as captured by each of the microphones.
Taken in combination with the known location and orientation of the controller (as determined based on sensors and tracking methods) and by extension the known location and orientation of the microphone array, then the location of the sound source within the interactive environment can be determined.
Furthermore, captured sound can be processed to exclude sounds which do not emanate from a certain region of the interactive environment.
The filed patent also makes it clear that DualSense has the capability of removing crosstalk when multiple controllers are in the same environment. The built-in microphones are designed to balance out the audio levels in order to focus on their own user. For example, when playing locally on PlayStation 5 with a friend in the same room, both can – by theory – speak into their DualSense controllers without making it overly noisy for the users listening on the other ends.
Moreover, when multiple controllers are utilized, then the captured audio data from the multiple controllers can be analyzed in combination, along with the locations and orientations of the controllers, to enable determination of the locations from which sounds originate with high levels of accuracy.
As for why Sony didn’t just place the microphones in the console itself, the patent notes that having them in the controller proved to be more advantageous. Being in close proximity to the user meant that the array of microphones were able to diminish crosstalk and zero in on a particular user with great precision, something which users will be able to experience for themselves as well when PlayStation 5 launches worldwide during the holiday season at the end of the year.
Within the same patent, Sony also outlined how the touchpad of DualSense will couple with a touchscreen interface on the television set or monitor as part of the controller. Hence, players can focus on their gameplay while performing gestures on the touchpad through the interface shown in-game.