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Wii Vitality Sensor canned, confirms Nintendo boss

Device didn't work for 10 per cent of people

Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has confirmed that the company has, unsurprisingly, cancelled plans to release the Wii Vitality Sensor.


The bizarre device was revealed in June 2009 as a heartbeat sensor that could work to "help us relax in a videogame" or help "people to unwind or even fall asleep", according to Iwata at the time.

But, rather than sending gamers to sleep, Iwata has admitted that the firm has quietly put the device itself to bed.

"We thought it would be interesting to understand how the human autonomic nerve functions while using the Wii Vitality Sensor," he told investors recently.

"We pushed forward its development on the academic assumption that by observing the wave patterns of the human pulse, we could quantify how tense or relaxed a person is, or to be more specific, how much the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves work as functions of the autonomic nerve."

Iwata says prototype software was created, but devs encountered two main issues; failure to function correction with an many as 10 per cent of test subjects, and a conceptually "narrower application than we had originally thought".

"After a large-scale test of a prototype inside the company, we found out that for some people the sensor did not work as expected," admitted Iwata. "We wondered if we should commercialize a product which works as expected for 90 people out of 100, but not so for the other 10 people.

"We could not get it to work as we expected and it was of narrower application than we had originally thought," he later said.

It idea isn't completely ditched however. "We would like to launch it into the market if technology advancements enable 999 of 1,000 people to use it without any problems, not only 90 out of 100 people," said Iwata.

And such advancements may already have come; Microsoft demonstrated at E3 last month the new Xbox One Kinect sensor's ability to detect a users' heartbeat.