Nintendo Files Patent Application For Peculiar Sleep Tracker, Video Game: Report

27 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Nintendo Just Filed A Patent For A Bizarre New Device.

Earlier this week, internet sleuths dug up a Nintendo patent for what appears to be the rough design of their mysterious “Quality of Life” sensor, something long touted by the company as an experimental project, but little has been officially revealed about it. It looks roughly like a smartphone that plugs into a speaker terminal, but the description makes it sound like something far from a music player. “The portable terminal detects sensor information for assessing a user’s emotions,” the description reads. “It would be permissible, as an example, for the sensor information to be sound information which is detected by a microphone, or image information which is captured by a camera. The information processing system assesses the user’s emotions on the basis of the sensor information.” This has something to do with Nintendo ’s plan to monitor a users’ sleep, as evidence by an image showing the device next to a bed with a projector meant to display some sort of imagery on the ceiling for when the user is falling asleep or waking up. Yet all this talk about “emotion sensing” has to be more involved than just sleep monitoring, and must have some kind of applications to Nintendo’s traditional area of expertise, gaming.

Overlooking the mildly creepy Big Brother implications (when Nintendo watches you sleep and logs your emotions, it’s adorable, but have Microsoft or Sony try that and see how people react), it could have some fairly significant effects on gaming itself. Depending on how accurate this is (I’m just going to give Nintendo the benefit of the doubt and say it produces correct results), I’m picturing a horror game that could insert an emotion-triggered scare when the device detects a user’s fear is the highest. They could log which sections of their games produce literal smiles on people’s faces, and either tailor future elements of the game to respond to that, or at least log the data for future products.Or maybe if a user appears sad, Nintendo could suggest they play the game that has previously made them the most happy. Another idea I’ve heard tossed around is that if the sensor could sense frustration, it could knock the difficulty level down during a game after too many failures which produce a quantifiably angry user.

Though this would be a very Nintendo thing to do, I can see it further upsetting many players who get annoyed when games merely ask them if they want to lower the difficulty, nevermind actually doing it for them based on sensor data. It’s right in line with what we’ve heard about from the Quality of Life initiative before, even if it doesn’t necessarily indicate that Nintendo will release a final product that looks anything like this.

Through all of this, I have to wonder if this emotion sensor/sleep tracker is going to be somehow directly integrated into the NX, another mysterious Nintendo project that everyone is guessing is a new console to replace the Wii U. It uses a variety of input to give you a sleep score, which sounds like an incredibly effective way to introduce stress into an otherwise pretty relaxing activity. Nintendo has always understood something about our relationship to technology on an elemental level, something that shone through with the Wii but goes all the way back to Donkey Kong, the first game to introduce a concept of a narrative. It’s hard to say, but I can’t imagine that Nintendo would bother making something this elaborate and not have it tie into their gaming hardware at all. I’m going to reserve judgement on this strange sensor array until we know more about it, though I will admit my initial reaction is to wonder why Nintendo, which has been struggling to produce must-have hardware this past console generation, is spending time and resources on something like this.

It’s a tall order as we’ve never really seen anything like it, but Nintendo always likes to shoot for the stars, even if Mission Control is radioing a bunch of warnings to stay on their original course.

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