Nintendo’s Unorthodox Patent Application for Robotic Legs Leaves Everyone Guessing

Attribution @TheVideoGameCat
Attribution @TheVideoGameCat


Nintendo, the video game company that is known for innovation and pioneering new gaming technologies, has made it their mission to continually expand themselves and revolutionize the gaming industry, and their next move is no exception.

On December 14, Nintendo filed an unexpected patent application for what seems like a weird piece of robotics technology. The patent application is for a “Passive Walking Device and Passive Walking Module,” and was published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the international intellectual property organization where the patent application was filed, for public viewing. A passive walking device is typically a pair of robotic legs that do not require a motor in order to move. The technology appears to resemble a pair of robotic legs, and is capable of walking without a power supply. It also relies entirely on the power of its own weight, and only requires a simple push in order for it to start walking; simply by rocking itself back and forth, as it walks, it will maintain perpetual momentum.

Nintendo’s patent application contains around twenty illustrations that detail the design of the robotic legs, and have variations of the leg designs, including models of the robotic legs with either four legs, as well as two. While the patent documents are plain to understand, what is plainly understandable is why exactly Nintendo decided to apply for a patent for mechanical robotics technology in the first place. It is certainly fascinating to see that a company like Nintendo would even be interested enough in robotics technology to the extent of producing a patent application.

According to, Nintendo has apparently developed a robot in the past, known as R.O.B., which is actually a character seen in a lot of recent Nintendo games, quite notably with Nintendo’s hit game “Super Smash Bros.” R.O.B. was a robot whose name stood for Robotic Operating Buddy, and was launched as a practical companion to the Nintendo Entertainment System (“NES”) in 1985. Although R.O.B. did not have moving legs, it was able to interact with the NES system and receive up to six commands.

It’s very difficult to currently see how any of this could fit in any of Nintendo’s current projects, but some sources theorize that it may have something to do with a possible secondary generation of the Nintendo Switch. Regardless of which, Nintendo’s Research & Development team has regularly filed patents for new hardware. Besides, this is definitely not the weirdest or most confusing patent that Nintendo has ever filed. Only time will tell which direction Nintendo’s patent will take in regards to their future plans and product releases.

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