Spotted in Nintendo patent trio: Sensors, projector for sleep state

Spotted in Nintendo patent trio: Sensors, projector for sleep state

NeoGAF, a video game forum, spotted a set of patents last week igniting much interest among game- and gadget-watching sites. Nintendo filed for a device the size of an alarm clock, which also involves a ceiling projector, docking station and speakers.

IGN discussed the patent's descriptions: "This information processing system comprises a portable terminal," which "detects sensor information for assessing a user's emotions." The assessment is done on the basis of the sensor information, and is detected when the terminal is in standby mode.

The patent said "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."

A number of sites wondered if this was to become the potential sleep monitor that Nintendo had talked about last year, as the documents spotted by NeoGAF seemed to pertain to such a device.

IGN described how this as sleep monitor would work: The sensors (1) detect the user's pulse rate, temperature, and other related body measurements, and (2) the data is uploaded to Nintendo's servers where a sleep score can be calculated and (3) using the device's projector, the results would be displayed on the ceiling.-

Mariella Moon in Engadget described it as "a sensor-laden alarm clock-like gadget that's equipped with a projector."

Elyse Betters in Pocket-lint described it as "a dock of some sort that can monitor how well you're sleeping and then project that information onto your ceiling."

Meredith Placko in said, "According to the patent description, it works by utilizing both the microphone and camera on the device, which may or may not be a smart phone. Sound and motion from the user would be used to detect and your emotional state throughout the night."

Why would Nintendo want to spend time thinking about such a thing and to secure a patent for such a system? Placko said the sleep monitor was part of a new business model that Satoru Iwata had hoped to launch. (Iwata passed away earlier this month.)

The patent set, which dates back to last year, would seem to be related to Nintendo's QOL project, said NeoGAF. Last year, a leadership statement from Nintendo made mention of the company's QOL (Quality of Life) plans.

The message last year had declared that "we have decided to redefine entertainment as something that improves people's quality of life ("QOL") in enjoyable ways and expand our business areas. What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people's QOL in enjoyable ways."

This, he said, will be an attempt to establish "a new business area apart from our dedicated video game business." He said, "We have set 'health' as the theme for our first step and we will try to use our strength as an entertainment company to create unique approaches that expand this business."

Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch had said back in October that "Nintendo might be on the verge of reinventing itself once again." He said that "Nintendo is aiming to build out its health division, adding more details to a plan announced back in January for a so-called "Quality of Life" platform with the revelation that it's building a sleep and fatigue tracking system to encourage healthy rest habits for users."

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