Nintendo Reveals First Quality-of-Life Product: A Sleep Sensor

"World-first" device measures sleep cycles and vital signs; Doesn't need to be worn.

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A fatigue and sleep deprivation sensor is the first product from Nintendo's new health and lifestyle venture.

As explained for the first time by Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata, the sensor does not need to be worn, nor interacted with. Instead, it can be placed at the bedside and will automatically begin to measure the details of a person's sleep.

On Thursday, Iwata explained the technology during a presentation to investors. He said: "Inside the QOL Sensor is a non-contact radio frequency sensor, which measures such things as the movements of your body, breathing and heartbeat, all without physically touching your body."

This automatically-gathered data will then be transmitted to cloud servers, he added, after which the data will be analysed and sent to the user as a visualised set of graphs.

Iwata's hope is that this data can help people better understand and improve their quality of sleep. Users will also be advised on a number of methods to improve their sleep, such as exercising or changing diet.

He added: "Since fatigue per se is not regarded as a disease in the medical world, it is said to be a field where sufficient research has yet to be conducted. We have been fortunate to encounter several experts who have been conducting cutting-edge research in the science of fatigue. Together, we are now developing technology to estimate fatigue".

This sleep sensor is the first in Nintendo's new range of Quality of Life products, which Nintendo first mentioned in January.

These devices are not necessarily built with Nintendo's game consoles in mind. In fact, it is not suggested a game console such as the Wii U is required.

A slide presented to investors by Iwata suggests there will be little crossover between games and Quality of Life products.
A slide presented to investors by Iwata suggests there will be little crossover between games and Quality of Life products.

Nintendo has partnered with Dr. Yasuyoshi Watanabe as part of the venture, considered an expert in fatigue science. It has also formed a business alliance with ResMed, a US-based corporation that develops medical equipment.

Dr Watanabe said: “Accurate and simplified fatigue measurements enable self-comprehension of the body which is very significant for contemporary humans, and I think it can be used as the benchmark to improve our QOL. We will all do our utmost to achieve this world-first product.”

Iwata believes the technology is the first of its kind, and said it represents the beginning of a new venture for the company.

"A total of 125 years have passed since Nintendo started its business as a Japanese Hanafuda playing cards manufacturer," he told investors.

"By believing that putting smiles on people’s faces is the goal of entertainment, the company has continued to develop, manufacture and market many different products. The company has shown significant growth in markets overseas since 1983 by positioning dedicated video game platforms as its core business.

"As I stated in January this year, we have redefined entertainment as something that improves people’s QOL in enjoyable ways and aim to broaden our business fields. As a part of this endeavor, we are now going to newly establish this QOL improvement platform."

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