A patent filed by Microsoft details a design for a biometric controller comprised of, “a plurality of pressure sensors.” The controllers would use these sensors to form a unique profile based off of how the player holds the controller. This is accomplished by utilizing, “memory for storing the output signals provided by the plurality of pressure sensors…against stored pressure profile signatures for positively identifying the user.” Much like the way Kinect is able to recognize unique body shapes; controllers with biometric components could be designed to identify each unique individual that holds them.
This patent is not that much different from one filed by Sony last year, similarly for a biometric controller (as well as a biometric Move controller). That design was described as being able to measure, “galvanic skin resistance, electro-cardio data, and electro-muscular data.” Sony described that by measuring perspiration, heart-rate, and muscle activity, gameplay could be enhanced in a variety of areas including, but not limited to:
- Weapons that change depending on how stressed you are. An increase in stress level could make a weapon more accurate or less steady, which will make it difficult to target an enemy. Sony specifically mentions a sniper situation where the weapon becomes more steady if you’re relaxed.
- Tensing up your muscles to withstand an attack or charge up a shield.
- A video game character whose facial expressions, movements, posture, and even voice changes depending on your biometric data. For example, this character will sweat when a player is nervous.
- An adrenaline style boost which will let you run faster, jump higher, and punch harder when stressed.
- A health bar that depletes more rapidly if you have a high stress level.
- An attack button that changes a character’s move depending if the player is stressed or relaxed.
- Background music and scenery that changes depending on your stress level. Matching music is one example, but Sony also proposes to change music to make a player more relaxed. Brightness of objects and the zoom level, representing a higher level of focus, are two ideas for scenery.
- A game that adapts difficulty levels depending on a players stress level.
One wonders if these patents are windows into what we should expect from the next generation. Forgive the cliché, but only time will tell.