Nintendo will develop a device to measure a user's fatigue and map their sleep, Chief Executive Satoru Iwata said on Thursday, as Nintendo is aiming to broaden the scope of its business fields by redefining entertainment as something that "improves people’s QOL or Quality of Life." During Nintendo's Corporate Management Policy Briefing in January this year, Iwata said that we were aiming to redefine its interpretation of entertainment. He had stated that the first theme of Nintendo's QOL business would be "health." The health-related theme that Nintendo will first deal with is to visualize sleep and fatigue.
The device will be developed with U.S. firm ResMed and will be available in the financial year ending March 2016.
The device will be "non-wearable," which means that users will not need to attach anything to their bodies. In addition, it will have no
physical contact with users' bodies, users will not have to operate the device and any measurement results will be produced automatically while the users are sleeping.
The "QOL Sensor", as it was described by Iwata, will automatically measure sleep condition by just placing it on a user's bedside. Inside the QOL Sensor is a non-contact radio frequency sensor, which measures such things as the movements of user's body, breathing and heartbeat. This automatically gathered data will be transmitted to the QOL cloud servers, which will then analyze the data measured by the sensor and visually represent sleep and fatigue results.
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. Nintendo has been working with experts who have been conducting research in the science of fatigue. Together, they are developing technology to estimate fatigue.
Based upon the sleep and fatigue status of the consumer which have both been "visualized," a variety of actions will be recommended. Consumers will be encouraged to take certain actions, such as exercising or changing diet. Then, the results will be measured each day. By continuing the measurements every day, users will be able to observe a gradual change achieved by their actions.
Iwata refused to discuss the company's sales expectations for the new device beyond saying that it may be offered via a subscription service rather than a one-off purchase.
The device was launched a day after Nintendo reported a quarterly profit, after hit games gave a boost to sales of its Wii U console.
"When we look at the prevalence of smart devices today, if we can use them to help visually represent sleep and fatigue status, it would be a waste not to make use of them to, for example, check the status or offer service to users. Needless to say, it would also be possible to use dedicated video game systems that could help to improve QOL. As with the definition of entertainment, Nintendo is willing to expand the definition of "platform" without being bound by traditional thinking," Iwata added.