The Drift problem is one of the biggest that exist in gamepads, especially those of SONY and Nintendo, as far as Microsoft is concerned, the chances of having this problem are much less likely to occur. In any case, it is not a unique problem of a generalized brand that also affects generic drivers for PC. Luckily a patent seems to have the definitive solution to the problem.
The patent that will end the drift
The PixArt company has a patent assigned to its name resulting in the ultimate solution to drift. This patent describes a mechanism, which is based in using an image sensor to read the movements of an analog stick, said image sensor captures the deformations produced by the analog stick on a deformable surface found on it.
The deformable surface is located on the inner body of the analog stick, right in the hole where it shares space with the image sensor, which from the deformations produced in the deformable part can interpret that the user has made one movement or another with the analog stick.
This simple method eliminates the need for a potentiometer to measure analog stick movements. It is precisely a malfunction and a bad calibration of the potentiometer that leads to 90% of the problems related to the Drift. In addition, this solution is very cheap to implement and therefore viable for all gamepads, whatever the platform.
Will we see this technology in any product?
The Japanese newspaper Economic Daily News stated in a news item last August 2020 that Nintendo will implement PixArt technology in future revisions of its Joy-Con. There has been talk for months of a Switch review, which would use the same SoC as the current review, but that would come with a Samsung OLED screen instead of the current IPS.
This revision has not yet been announced, but it would be an opportunity for Nintendo to launch new Joy-Cons that would not have the Drift problem that has affected the controllers of the different models of the Nintendo Switch. Another company that might be interested in using this technology is SONY given the Drift problems in the DualSense of its PS5.
In any case, as it is a patent outside any of the three console brands and any peripheral manufacturer, this means that it can be licensed for the creation of new gamepads. In addition, the use of an image sensor to read the movements of the analog stick means that the classic wear of the potentiometers will not exist.