Nintendo putting vitality sensor on hold

Nintendo has confirmed it has put its vitality sensor project on ice, following poor results during internal testing.

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Responding to an investor question during the company’s 73rd annual general meeting of shareholders, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed that, at least for now, the vitality sensor peripheral unveiled during the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) would not be coming to market.

“The Wii Vitality Sensor was under development as an accessory for Wii. We thought it would be interesting to understand how the human autonomic nerve functions while using the Wii Vitality Sensor, and we did develop trial software and showed the media some of its features,” he said.

Iwata cited inconsistent results during internal testing, saying that Nintendo could not commercialise a product that did not work for all users, with around 10 percent of those who tried the device not able to operate it.

“However, after a large-scale test of a prototype inside the company, we found out that for some people, the sensor did not work as expected,” Iwata said. “We wondered if we should commercialize a product which works as expected for 90 people out of 100, but not so for the other 10 people. Though I am sorry that we did not give any specific updates after this product’s initial announcement, I would say that knowing that a product has a problem, we should not launch it for the sole reason that we have already announced it.”

While the project appears to have been shelved indefinitely until the product is more inclusive for all users, Nintendo hasn't ruled out bringing it to market if the technical challenges can be overcome.

“We would like to launch it into the market if technology advancements enable 999 of 1,000 people to use it without any problems, not only 90 out of 100 people. I actually think that it must be 1,000 of 1,000 people, but (since we use the living body signal with individual differences), it is a little bit of a stretch to make it applicable to every single person,” he said.

A US patent filing that surfaced in 2010 revealed that Nintendo's proposed vitality sensor would work by shooting infrared light through a person's fingertip; determining how fast the blood was flowing, and in turn indicating player stress levels.

Discussion

172 comments
ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

sounded verya head of its time.  Hopefully,  Wii U gets it

kieldsen
kieldsen

Does anyone realize that Nintendo doesn't try to reach up to Sony/Microsoft's Standards?

Simulator_Shock
Simulator_Shock

One less pointless gaming gimmick is always a good thing.

mike_on_mic
mike_on_mic

I don't think Nintendo were really working on this.  Note that this is information relayed to the investors.  If could not get this working when these similar sensors have been used in Hospitals to monitor, blood gas count and heart rate they must truly be bad developers. 

That said, I believe that they simply didn't say anything and stopped work on it due to the ridicule they received when revealing it.  Better to not say anything that tell people the real reason.  When investors ask, well we better answer, the answer to me, might also include another reason, what possible application would this have in a game, sure monitor heart rate, why? 

Xroalia
Xroalia

What the hell would that even be used for? Nintendo really needs to stop trying so hard to be different if this is all they can come up with.

fawfulmark2
fawfulmark2

...................

..........................................

.................................................................they were still working on that thing?

link_hero_x
link_hero_x

Really Nintendo? It's called a pulse oximeter, it's been a common piece of medical technology (in all areas of the hospital, not just the Emergency Room--in reference to what someone else said) for a long time. It's nothing new. May not be as accurate for measuring oxygenation as a line that measures arterial blood directly, but medical personnel consider it a fairly accurate measure of heart rate. And if you seriously can't replicate a 50+-year-old piece of equipment, there's something wrong.

Basically, "it didn't work for 10% of people" was just a stupid made-up excuse to tell the *one* investor who cared about it. Or maybe *he* didn't care either, and just wanted to see what Iwata would say. See below for DawgByte2's rationale on the PR-nature of the statement.

Wahab_MinSeo
Wahab_MinSeo

it Look Crap how Long you need to put the sensor on your finger hold?

lostn
lostn

I have doubts this thing was ever more than a mockup they whipped up because they needed something new to show at e3. The fact that it took this many years before they commented on it again adds weight to this.

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

They already have working vitality sensors in A&E wards...

Taffy872
Taffy872

They have already done this sort of idea for the n64 tetris game.

Downloadpilot
Downloadpilot

Yeah, that's probably a good idea, huh Nintendo?

DawgByte2
DawgByte2

You do know this was all just a big coverup PR release statement for saying what they can't openly say: "Hey, we f*cked up! Not sure what boneheads invented this thing, but they're not with us anymore and we were obligated to show it off during the 2009 E3 since we had little else prepared. We know it sucks and it's useless".

They sure can't say that openly... but I'm pretty sure that's what they MEANT to say if they could.


ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

The vitality sensor would been nice, I can never tell if I'm still alive while I'm playing games.

R3NeGaDeAnGeL
R3NeGaDeAnGeL

"Vitality Sensor Project" AKA a cheap pulse oximeter connected to a Wiimote...such marvelous innovation

asmatsis
asmatsis

I just cant take Nintendo for real anymore..... its really sad.

What sucks even worse is the fact that back in the gamecube / N64 days those were my primary consoles, now Nintendo has become a secondary console at best.

Talavaj
Talavaj

How about you start making games instead of pointless shit ?

Snakepond1
Snakepond1

I could just have a new Metroid game please. 2D or 3D I don't care, but please just something. 

nurnberg
nurnberg

Cool!  One less useless gimmick in gaming.

onionking108
onionking108

How would this have even worked? How could you possibly hold the wii remote, nunchuck, and this thing clamped on your finger at the same time? lol

Xian042
Xian042

I'd like to see Reggie Fils-Aime wear the vitality sensor while being asked how warm of a reception the vitality sensor has gotten so far.

greenpolyp
greenpolyp

If stress monitors were built into controllers and camera periphreals could read emotions and stress levels, and project that into a game, then that would be cool. But nobody would try that because everyone loves Call of Duty and the battlefields and feel that those games are perfect and need new installments every six months. First person shooters breeds no creativity.

Verhoven
Verhoven

Hubris! They never learn from history I suppose. Just because they were successful with the Wii mote, they pull this stunt. I don't see anu practical application for this  pulse oximeter wannabe peripheral.

DiamondDM13
DiamondDM13

What exactly is the benefit this could bring to gaming?

punisher1
punisher1

They need to put the Wii everything on hold 

Georgemen
Georgemen

And I was wondering what the hell happened to it...

snova9308
snova9308

what? a vitality sensor? what are they thinking

El_Zaggy
El_Zaggy

How about making a next gen console ?

ThePlantain
ThePlantain

good luck selling that in the US, with the price of healthcare, people wouldn't want anything that reminds them of a hospital

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Hey Nintendo focus on making games not hospital equipment

ChunkyDrawers
ChunkyDrawers

Translation: Wii U shouldn't have been a thing

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

With all Nintendos focus on vital statistics, maybe they are worried Wii U owners are gonna drop dead waiting for any goddam games!

HYPERROY
HYPERROY

WTF big N get your self together and stop making dumb things like this. 

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Who would want that? Are they serious? This is why Nintendo are starting to slip, they just don't have a grip on reality any more.

Ice-Cube
Ice-Cube

Wii Hospital......Wii U..Wii U...Wii U

What's next? Blood Pressure cuffs, heart rate monitor, Defibrillator???

link_hero_x
link_hero_x

@Xian042 Nice one. I'm sure the fact that his heart rate would noticeably elevate is the reason he'd never do that.

lostn
lostn

@greenpolyp Come on, what could you actually do with it? If it's on your finger, it impedes your ability to hold the controller or press buttons. Shoulder buttons would be hard to press for example. 

And what do you gain from it? So it reads your vitals. Now what? What does it do with this? Mine are always normal. 

OniTaedo
OniTaedo

@Dannystaples14 

There are some gameplay related benefits, I suppose.

They could program games to react to the player's heart beat.

Imagine playing something like Resident Evil, and if you're too relaxed, the game will throw a some enemies at you (at random), to get your heart going.

greenpolyp
greenpolyp

@lostn @greenpolyp I'm mean it being built into the controller handles. Putting it on the finger would be stupid. PS4 controller I believe has Biometric sensors. Say for instance playing a Horror Game and your real fear being projected into the character or knowing when to scare you right when your heartrate goes up. Imagine having the game able to turn your lights in the room on and off. now thats innovative.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

@OniTaedo @Dannystaples14 Yeah, people tried to make the same argument for the Kinnect 2.os crap but the problem remains (as this article highlights). It's only any good if every person on earth (or at least every person who uses the sensor) reacts to the same stimuli the same way. And developers are NEVER going to put the time and effort into making it work differently for different people when they can just "Make zombie jump out of door in 5 seconds time" and call it done.

greenpolyp
greenpolyp

@lostn If you had a lamp plugged into a device that can receive signals then have that plugged into a outlet. Many games may not be able to use it but its different and a start with coming up with different ways to innovate games.

lostn
lostn

@greenpolyp @lostn There's no way a game console could control your lights. They aren't connected. What it could do is sanity effects, Eternal Darkness style.

Outside of horror games, I can't think of much use for biometrics. Maybe some fitness shovelware, which btw is always inferior to actual gym equipment.

Research has shown that Wii Fit does not burn any meaningful amount of calories.