Sony Computer Entertainment Europe last summer patented what seems to be a tablet controller for a console. It's called EyePad. Really.
Basically, while DualShock and Move are "useful for many types of game, such as shooting games and dance games, there will nevertheless be games or other applications for an entertainment device where an alternative input device may be more suitable", Sony's patent explained (unearthed by Gamechup).
The EyePad "is typically a panel, tablet or slab-like device comprising one or more illuminated regions, two stereoscopic video cameras and optionally a [touchpad]".
Those illuminated regions (labelled "1010" on the illustration) do a similar thing to the glowing ball on a PS Move controller, i.e. be recognised by a PlayStation Eye.
The two stereoscopic video cameras (labelled "1030x") could work together to read the 3D shape of something like a hand or ornament placed on top - or just above - the EyePad controller.
"For example, the EyePad may be used as a grooming table for an EyePet," the patent pointed out. The EyePet games use the PlayStation Eye and an [augmented reality] marker - a bit like the book in Wonderbook - to make a furry animal apparently spring to life in your room.
Tilt the EyePad down and the EyePet could jump onto it and then be carried around the room. Furthermore, the stereoscopic cameras could put together a 3D model of your hand so that it can interact in cyberspace with the pet.
You could also place real-world objects on the EyePad and they could be copied for use in a game.
As seen in the picture, all the buttons of a PS3 pad plus the analogue sticks could be present on the sides of the controller. There could be a speaker, too, and a microphone, and one or more in-built motion sensors.
A clever idea and perhaps natural extension of the EyePet and Wonderbook kind of experiments Sony has done on PS3. I doubt it's something Sony will announce at the PS4 reveal next week - not with the PS4 prototype apparently newfangled enough (more on that from Digital Foundry today) - but one should never say never.