Microsoft has applied for a patent on a dual-mode Xbox gaming controller that could seamlessly switch between wired and wireless modes mid-gameplay. According to the documentation, the controller would not only be equipped to run either on batteries in a wireless mode or via a physical connection - i.e. a USB cable - but of informing the currently playing game to flip between the two.
That way, if you wanted more flexibility in movement, you could detach the cable and go wireless - Microsoft envisage any combination of infrared, Bluetooth or RF being possible - before returning to a wired connection when the controller battery runs down. The game itself wouldn't have to be paused, and could automatically keep track of which controller goes with which player (and their accompanying saved games).
Of course, patent applications aren't necessarily a sign of actual intent to produce but we can think of quite a few gamers who would be keen on this dual-mode hardware.
[via I'm Just Being Manan]