I remember seeing the presentation for the Wii Vitality Sensor live at E3 2009. I remember the muddled "huh?" and "um, what?" exclamations in the audience, followed by a "I guess it could be cool for Silent Hill" response by one of my colleagues. In short, the reaction was "meh" at best, and probably not what Nintendo wanted to hear.
So whatever happened to the Vitality Sensor? Well, Professor Roger Quy from the neuro-technology firm Technology Partners had a bit to say about it at the NeuroGaming Conference in San Fransisco. Commented on why the tech isn't that impressive, Quy stated, “you have to be more sophisticated than that if you want to measure things thing arousal, valance or a range of emotions using heart-rate variability. I don’t think Nintendo really knew what to do with that."
He went on to question the viability of the tech as it was presented, saying, “so you measure your heart-rate – so what? Once you’ve measured it a few times…I mean you could always just hold your finger on your pulse. That’s why, again, value out – why use a switch when 40 relays will do?"
Simply put, the Vitality Sensor seemingly brought nothing new to the table, and perhaps Nintendo couldn't get other third party developers on board with it. Nintendo has a big history with bizarre peripherals and concepts, so who knows, maybe we can see the second coming of this idea on the Wii U.
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