Could Nintendo Be The Future of the Health Industry?

Michael Bakshandeh, Technology Editor

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Most people worldwide know the Japanese gaming company that has rocked the gaming universe for decades. It seems fairly obvious that this company is Nintendo. Nintendo has been incredibly successful in the gaming world. However, will they have as much success in monitoring our sleep?

Yes, I just said it. Nintendo wants to monitor us sleep. Although this idea seems incredulous, Nintendo does have some qualifications. Remember when Nintendo released Wii Fit in 2008? Wii Fit is a workout game that used a unique tool called the Wii Balance Board. Surprisingly or not, the device had incredible success. While some medical experts were critical of it, many physical therapy clinics picked up the device in helping treat some injuries. Over 22.6 million home users bought Wii Fit, making it the third-best selling game not packaged with a console of all time. In addition to Wii Fit, Nintendo also released Wii Sports, which was bundled with the package. With 82.5 million sales, Wii Sports became the second –best video game of all time, only behind the classic Tetris. Clearly, Nintendo has had some success in the past with health gaming systems.

According to Nintendo, their new sleep-monitoring program will have a similar goal to their other health-related apps: try to make it fun. The device hardware is being developed by ResMed, a world leader in electronic devices to treat sleep disorder. Nintendo hopes that their new device will help to visualize sleep and fatigue. One major benefit for the consumer is that the device can detect early signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a name for a family of disorders in which a person stops breathing in their sleep. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has issued several statements relating to the new device, called Quality of Life (QOL) sensor. Here is one of them which illustrates how the sensor works:

“All you have to do is place the QOL Sensor on your bedside. Inside the QOL Sensor is a non-contact radio frequency sensor, which measures such things as the movements of your body, breathing and heartbeat, all without physically touching your body. 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.”

In conclusion, yes, Nintendo is going to watch us sleep, and it might not seem so weird. According to Iwata, the device should make a profit, meaning that it will be in many of our homes. This device is expected to come out sometime this year or next year, and more details are to come about this device.