More details regarding Nintendo’s Quality of Life project have arisen from Satoru Iwata himself. For those of you who don’t know, the QOL is essentially a sleep sensor that is meant to improve restfulness using a non-contact radio frequency, also reducing fatigue in the process. It also uses sensors, hooked up to a cloud service, to monitor your lifestyle and will monitor your sleeping habits, respiratory patterns, and heart rate.
Iwata had the following to say about the QOL device:
“Everyone needs to sleep, and all of us get tired. There is no argument that whether or not we have sound sleep or not significantly affects our health, and many of us recognize through our daily lives that accumulated fatigue makes it difficult to maintain good health. However, we tend to recognize these conditions in a subjective fashion. Fatigue and sleep are themes that are rather hard to visualize in more objective ways. At Nintendo, we believe that if we could visualize them, there would be great potential for many people regardless of age, gender, language or culture.
Of course, there are currently several existing ways to measure our sleep status. However, even though there must potentially be significant demand to visualize sleep, there have not been any definitive products to date. We believe that this must be because devices launched so far have required consumers to make some kind of effort, which made it rather difficult to continue.
I decided that Nintendo should step into this QOL business because:
The company has now reached the point where we will be able to realize the Five “Non” Sensing elements. Five “Non” Sensing is the concept that in spite of eliminating the five things that have been necessary so far, we still can measure the status of sleep and fatigue automatically.
Among these Five “Non” Sensing elements, I mentioned the first keyword, “non-wearable,” which means that you do not need to attach anything to your body, during our last Corporate Management Policy Briefing. I believe, and I think many of you will agree, that we want to wear only things that are very comfortable when we go to bed. If we need to wear a device, say, on our wrist, or if we need to install some special equipment in our bed, we will sometimes forget, which therefore makes it hard to continue. Thus, I believe the “non-wearable” concept is very important. The next one is “non-contact,” which means that the product will not have any physical contact with your body. While attaching a sensor to your body is convenient for giving you a read out of your biological information, few people appear to enjoy having unusual objects attached to their bodies while sleeping. Therefore, the ability to measure without physical contact is another important point. The next one is “non-operating.” Not requiring the user to operate the device is another key point, as it can encourage continuity. Not everyone has a clear head when they get into or out of bed. Whether we have to operate a device or not when we get into and out of bed significantly changes our ability to continue. Another factor is “non-waiting,” or in other words, eliminating the wait for measurement results to be produced. From sensing to analysis, measuring biological information inevitably takes some time. This is one of the issues we could not overcome with our “Wii Vitality Sensor” project. However, if we can make it so that the measurement can be done automatically while the user is sleeping, and if it can be done without any operation, the user does not need to wait. Finally, “non-installation efforts,” or not requiring users to go through the trouble of installing the product to start is another important key factor.
Visualizing sleep and fatigue by automatically measuring sleep condition under this concept of Five “Non” Sensing is going to be the first step for Nintendo’s QOL business.
We will prepare the QOL Sensor that will automatically measure sleep condition under this Five “Non” Sensing concept. 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.
To achieve the visualization of sleep and fatigue, we have formed a business alliance with ResMed, which is headquartered in the U.S. and is the leading corporation in the world that develops, manufactures and MARKETSmedical equipment for the treatment, diagnosis and management of Sleep Disordered Breathing, COPD and other chronic diseases. The company operates business in dozens of different countries around the world while its main business is conducted in the U.S. I understand that they have many users in Japan too.
They have now provided Nintendo’s QOL business with the core of the Five “Non” Sensing elements, namely, non-contact sensor measurement technology and sleep condition estimation technology.
ResMed has been contributing to improving patients’ QOL in the medical equipment field by improving their sleep condition, and for Nintendo, a company that develops, manufactures and markets products for the general public, we think this partnership is a good fit as both companies can bring out each other’s strengths.
Since fatigue per se is not regarded as a disease in the medical world, it is said to be a field where sufficient research has yet to be conducted. We have been fortunate to encounter several experts who have been conducting cutting-edge research in the science of fatigue. Together, we are now developing technology to estimate fatigue.
Dr. Yasuyoshi Watanabe is an expert in a wide variety of health-related fields, and his name is recognized in fatigue science around the world. Dr. Watanabe kindly provided us with his comment: “Accurate and simplified fatigue measurements enable self-comprehension of the body which is very significant for contemporary humans, and I think it can be used as the benchmark to improve our QOL. We will all do our utmost to achieve this world-first product.”
The state-of-the-art research results in fatigue science that Dr. Hirohiko Kuratsune and Dr. Seiki Tajima have been jointly conducting will also be used in fatigue visualization for Nintendo’s QOL platform.
If we can realize the visualization of sleep and fatigue with Five “Non” Sensing elements, the QOL improvement cycle will go as follows:
First, with Five “Non” Sensing aspects, your sleep and fatigue can be automatically measured. All you will have to do is place the QOL sensor near your bed and then sleep as usual. The collected data will be transmitted to the QOL cloud servers and will be analyzed and evaluated. Based upon the sleep and fatigue status of the consumer which have both been “visualized,” services intended to improve QOL will be proposed. More specifically, a variety of actions will be recommended. Consumers will be encouraged to take certain actions, such as exercising or changing diet. Then, the results will be measured through Five “Non” Sensing elements each day. By continuing the measurements every day, users will be able to observe a gradual change achieved by their actions. This cycle can contribute to the improvement of QOL, and the QOL improvement platform can help realize it.
To summarize, With Five “Non” Sensing aspects, we will make it easy for anyone to use it.
With Nintendo’s know-how of hospitality as well as of making people want to continue, we will encourage people to enjoy using it every day. As a result, a meaningful cycle will be established aiming to improve people’s QOL. These are the basic elements of our QOL improvement platform.”
It’s safe to say that this may be Nintendo’s strangest venture yet. But what do you think? Do you like the idea of Nintendo dabbling in healthcare, or is this a little bit too far from gaming for the Big N? Let us know in the comments below!