Sony patented a "break apart" PS3 controller in 2008 but it never materialised; now Sony's doing similar - only this time with added bells and whistles.
The obvious speculation is whether this is what Sony's planning for PS4. (No! Bring back the tacky banana pad!)
The patent titled Hybrid Separable Motion Controller was filed in May last year and published 13th November this year.
The most arresting part of the new design are the PlayStation Move-like bobbles on each shoulder of the pad. Otherwise the controller looks more or less identical to the DualShock 3 PS3 pad.
Each half of the controller can also feature motion-sensing technology like a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer. That's on top of rumble, a speaker (apparently) and analogue stick/button inputs.
One set of pictures shows extended palm grips that more closely resemble the length of the Move controller than the DualShock 3 controller. The patent noted that a contoured and textured surface may be used to help grip the damn things and not fling them at your telly/friends. There's another hideous picture that showed wrist straps at the bottom of each half of the controller.
Most of the patent concerned the technology that would enable the pad to be broken apart and refitted, and ensure the linked console knew what the hell was going on. The actual practical gaming applications aren't really discussed in detail, but you can imagine what they might be.
In this patent's case, the pictures do the talking (via TheSixthAxis)