Why the PS4's DualShock controller has a LED bar: Controlling virtual reality

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Play Station 4 fans love the console's DualShock 4 controller, with one big exception: Its poor battery life compared to other controllers. That poor battery life is due partly to the fancy glowing LED light bar on the top, which PS4 users can't turn off.

The persistent light bar may drive some gamers mad, but it appears Sony had a reason for making the light always-on and it wasn't so you could tell the controller was active. It was for Project Morpheus, the company's ambitious virtual reality headset.

"The tracking light…it was our department that said we need that on," Jed Ashforth, senior designer for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, recently told TechRadar. "It was for tracking for VR."

Beyond Morpheus, the light bar does have uses for current PS4 owners. The PlayStation 4 Camera uses the light to aid in its motion tracking technology on current games, which will carry over to the Morpheus experience. The light can also change color to help you identify which character is yours during a multi-player gaming session.

Sony so far hasn't said when Project Morpheus will go on sale, other than a nebulous target date of 2015. 

Consumer technology appears to have finally caught up with the vision for virtual reality making it possible to create mass market products. In addition to the much-hyped Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus, Microsoft is also reportedly getting into VR with a secret project for the Xbox One dubbed Fortaleza ("fortress" in Portuguese).

This story, "Why the PS4's DualShock controller has a LED bar: Controlling virtual reality" was originally published by TechHive.

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