Nintendo isn't exactly a stranger to the robot business, but for the most part, the company has learned to stay in its lane when it comes to producing what it's best at and doing it well (as in, 'million dollar earnings on mobile games' well) but now, it seems like that might change. A recent patent filing has revealed that Nintendo is looking to produce robot legs for something, though the project could be a number of possibilities.
The patent, filed yesterday with the Worldwide Intellectual Property Organization, is specifically for a “Passive Walking Device and Passive Walking Module” that doesn't seem to tie tightly to any major Nintendo projects that are known right now.
Nintendo has developed a robot in the past, known as R.O.B., a quirky little guy whose name stood for Robotic Operating Buddy. (Things were very simple in the 80's and early 90's.) R.O.B was launched as a functioning companion to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, officially coming stateside that October after a summer release in Japan. While it didn't have moving legs, R.O.B was able to interact with the NES system and receive a total of six commands. Sadly, R.O.B. no longer really functions with modern-day technology, as it required a CRT TV to operate and was mainly released as a way to get parents to buy more NES systems during the holiday season.
It is very unclear what Nintendo's motivations are for this one, though. Companion robots are quickly becoming a craze again thanks to another major franchise, but Nintendo doesn't seem to have any planned releases around robots, or any projects that would require this sort of patent to be filed. Whatever Nintendo has up its sleeve, it doesn't want anyone getting a shot at it first, so that's why the patent was filed.