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Stanford Researchers Develop Video Game Controller with Biometric Sensors

A Stanford University research team has modified an Xbox 360 control pad to measure a player’s heart rate, rate of breath, deepness of breath, and movement to calculate how excited a player is by the game.

Creator Gregory Kovacs, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, told Stanford News that he replaced the back of the controller with his own customized device which features metal sensor pads, a light-operated sensor and an accelerometer.

Using biometric sensors, the modded controller takes the stored data from the device, along with the game data, to measure the player’s emotions regarding the game. This information can then be used to design video games that better respond to players.

“If a player wants maximum engagement and excitement, we can measure when they are getting bored and, for example, introduce more zombies into the level,” Kovacs told Stanford News. “We can also control the game for children. If parents are concerned that their children are getting too wrapped up in the game, we can tone it down or remind them that it’s time for a healthy break.”

The controller received overwhelmingly positive feedback when demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

This is certainly not the first time video game controllers have been modded to measure biometric data. Valve has discussed the possibility of using biometrics for its Steam Controller in the past and Microsoft and Sony have included biometric technology into their respective consoles.

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