Nintendo’s Newest Project? Not Games, but Sleep Devices

Back in the 80s and 90s, Nintendo was the undisputed master in the world of video games, thanks to such iconic franchises as Mario, Zelda and Pokémon.  In recent years, however, Nintendo’s relevance in the video game industry has gone down as companies such as Microsoft and Sony have dominated the market with their respective game consoles.  Many might think that Nintendo’s glory days are behind them, and trying to outdo Sony and Microsoft is nothing more than a pipe dream.  But Nintendo is a survivor, having existed in one form or another since 1889.  Last year, they first announced their intention to develop a sleep monitor as part of its “quality of life” initiative.  And now, thanks to a recently-published patent unearthed by NeoGAF forum members, we now know what it could look like.

Nintendo is apparently planning to build a sensor-laden gadget, reminiscent of an alarm clock, that’s equipped with a projector.  According to the patent application, the device will assess individuals’ emotions through an array of microphones and cameras that keep track of the noises and movements they make while sleeping.  It will work in a standby mode, where its display will shut down, to minimize the power draw as it watches over users for hours on end. Earlier this year, Nintendo confirmed the existence of an upcoming console, codenamed “NX”, that will apparently represent a major departure from the company’s current and previous strategies.  The NX and its software platform will unify the company’s hardware experiences, and even invite PCs and mobile devices.  It’s possible that the sleep machine will serve as an “appendage” to this new platform.  
Nintendo’s interest in the health sector could prove unsuccessful, since it’s such a major step into a field where the company doesn’t have much experience.  Rivals Sony could be in a better position to pull of such a move, although it seems that Nintendo doesn’t have the reserves or breadth of brand to branch beyond gaming.  In addition to the question of whether or not Nintendo can expand beyond gaming, nobody knows how consumers will respond to a private device that could have cameras and microphones that monitor people.  This idea could make a lot of people uncomfortable, although both Amazon and Xbox have similar devices that have started to ingratiate themselves to the public after some initial suspicion.