Nintendo’s New Health Device Listens to You Sleep

Nintendo’s first entry into the “quality of life” business, which it plans to release by early 2016, is a device that tracks a user’s level of fatigue by monitoring sleep.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata detailed the device at a meeting for investors in Tokyo on Thursday, following the release of the company’s second-quarter financial report.

“There is no argument that whether or not we have sound sleep or not significantly affects our health,” Iwata said, “and many of us recognize through our daily lives that accumulated fatigue makes it difficult to maintain good health.”

“Fatigue and sleep are themes that are rather hard to visualize in more objective ways. At Nintendo, we believe that if we could visualize them, there would be great potential for many people,” he said.

There are plenty of products on the market already that track one’s sleeping patterns, like Fitbit, or smartphone apps, and specialty devices. Nintendo’s goal is to simplify the process and put a fun Nintendo spin on it.

qol-1Nintendo’s stated plan is to make continuous use of the device as frictionless as possible. As Iwata said in January, it’s a “non-wearable” device that doesn’t need to be put on the body to function. Nintendo said it will partner with Resmed, an American maker of sleep-tracking devices for sleep apnea patients, to create the sensor itself.

The device, he said, would start tracking a user’s sleep automatically, without them having to press a button or otherwise engage the machine as they get into or out of bed. “Not everyone has a clear head when they get into or out of bed. Whether we have to operate a device or not when we get into and out of bed significantly changes our ability to continue,” Iwata said.

qol-2Once the so-called “QOL sensor” receives the data, it will be sent to Nintendo’s cloud servers and analyzed, then automatically sent out to the user’s smartphone, tablet, Nintendo gaming system or other device, where they will be able to examine the data. The software will then give the user concrete advice as to how they might improve their level of fatigue, such as exercising more or eating healthier foods.

“With Nintendo’s know-how of hospitality as well as of making people want to continue, we will encourage people to enjoy using it every day,” Iwata said.

Nintendo did not give a name to the device nor did it actually show the device itself during the presentation, and did not give any updates as to when it plans to release it into the market. In January, Iwata said that it would be released during the company’s next fiscal year, which begins April 2015 and ends in March 2016.

Written by Chris Kohler on October 30, 2014 for Wired

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