Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata spoke openly in April 2014 of the company’s plans to step outside the bounds of entertainment, and the first step in that direction is a device that measures fatigue and maps sleep, according to Reuters. It’s the product of Nintendo’s recently established healthcare division, working alongside ResMed Inc., a California-based firm that specializes in developing treatments for sleep disorders.
The device doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s a hand-sized device that is meant to sit on a bedside table. It uses microwave transmission sensors to track sleep, with the goal being to help guide users toward healthier sleeping habits. Though Iwata hinted that it’s not all business; there’s some element, not discussed, that’s meant to encourage engagement.
“By using our know-how in gaming … to analyse sleep and fatigue, we can create something fun,” he said during a media conference revealing the device.
Iwata went on to note that the device will come sometime during the financial year ending in March 2016, but he refused to discuss pricing, beyond suggesting that Nintendo may treat the device offering as more of a subscription service than a standalone purchase.
All of this falls in line with Iwata’s April statements, which elaborated on loose plans laid out in Nintendo’s January 2014 financial forecast. He confirmed the company’s plans to get into “non-wearable” health monitoring, but offered no specific details at the time.
“Recently the words ‘quality of life’ have been coming up regularly. Entertainment is there to improve people’s quality of life. After your basic needs, there’s entertainment. However, when it came to improving people’s quality of life, I didn’t know the difference between us and household appliance makers,” he said in April.
“At the start of this year, I finally figured that the concept of ‘improving people’s quality of life with fun,’ with emphasis on the ‘fun’, would be perfect for Nintendo.”