Siliconera reports that Sony have recently filed patent applications for new DualShock 3 controllers, Move-esque wands and a handheld unit similar to the PS Vita which include biometric scanners. The devices are designed to measure three factors: Muscle reactions, skin moisture levels and heart rate, which are generally used to paint a picture of how stressed an individual is.
Though the project remains at an extremely early phase, and Nintendo tried something similar with the Wii Vitality Sensor that was ultimately shelved due to inconsistent results, Sony opted to whet our appetites by including some details on the possible applications of their biometric sensor with the patent. Among these suggestions include games that feature player characters whose behaviour, both within and without combat, can be affected by the stress level of the person playing them, or atmospheric details like visuals and sounds that are affected by the stress level of the player.
The possibility of stress (or at least certain gamers’ propensities towards higher heart rates and the like) having an effect on actual gameplay is something that I find too potentially inconsistent to take seriously, but the possibility of lesser details like atmospheric effects or even player character interactions with the game environment is something that I wouldn’t mind seeing with such a setup. Of course, there’s still no telling how prohibitively expensive such tech might be, or even if any developers would be on board with trying to work with it, but speculation is one of my favourite things to let run rampant. Let us know what you think of this tech and the sort of applications you’d like (or wouldn’t like) to see it used for in the comments.