Sony patents biometric controller

By Steve Watts, Nov 02, 2011 7:30am PDT

Sony seems to be toying with the idea of your heart rate and sweaty palms impacting what happens inside a game. A new patent application reveals biometrics in an unnamed handheld device, as well as built into the existing DualShock 3 and Move controller designs. Though the controllers won't necessarily find their way to market, Sony already has some gaming applications planned out.

Sony biometric controller diagrams

Siliconera reports that the patent covers three sources of biometric feedback: skin moisture, heart rhythm, and muscle movements. The diagrams show it built into the handles of the PS3 controller, so you'd be providing the feedback constantly just by holding onto the device.

So what could be done by measuring how nervous you are? Sony proposes functions like a sniper rifle that is more steady if you're relaxed, tensing up to withstand an attack, adrenaline boosts for faster movements when stressed, or a health bar that depletes more rapidly if you're stressed. It could also dynamically shift the difficulty level or background music based on your mood, and make your in-game character's nervousness reflect your actual feelings.

All in all, it sounds like a more fleshed-out version of the Wii Vitality Sensor, which was introduced with a fizzle and then perpetually delayed. We last heard of it in May, but Nintendo was never this specific with possible gaming applications. If Sony can get it to work consistently, as Nintendo as struggled to do, it could add some interesting wrinkles to our games.

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