Game controller measures heart rate, respiration, temperature, perspiration

Stanford Professor Gregory Kovacs and researcher Corey McCall claim that they are able to “read the brain” by measuring heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, perspiration and other body processes.  Their goal is to sense emotions.

The back of an Xbox 360 controller was replaced with a 3-D printed plastic module packed with sensors. Small metal pads on the controller’s surface measure the user’s heart rate, blood flow, and both the rate of breath and how deeply the user is breathing. Another light-operated sensor gives a second heart rate measurement, and accelerometers measure how frantically the person is shaking the controller.

Software gauges the intensity of the game.  The researchers then compared this data to generate an overall picture of the player’s level of mental engagement.

While such non-invasive measurements of health are important, and can be effective for the gaming applications of Stanford’s focus, the only way to view brainwaves is through EEG.   Scientists are developing less obtrusive EEG methods, with promising results aimed at diagnosing and treating brain diseases.