Xbox 360 controllers measure the player’s emotions and alter the gameplay to make it more engaging

Gregory Kovacs, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, in collaboration with Texas Instruments, have modified an Xbox 360 controller to monitor a player’s physiological signals such as heart rate, respiration rate, temperature and perspiration to help determine when the player becomes bored. “By measuring those outputs, we can understand what’s happening in the brain almost instantaneously,” Corey McCall, a doctoral candidate in Kovacs’ lab.

McCall replaced the back panel off an Xbox 360 controller with a 3-D printed plastic module packed with sensors. Small metal pads on the controller’s surface monitor the user’s heart and breath rate, blood flow and inhalation. A light-operated sensor measures heart rate, and accelerometers detect how the user is handling the controller. The intensity of the game is also captured by a custom-built software, which can then be combined with other measures to generate an overall picture of the player’s level of mental engagement.

A game was then designed that could respond to these measurements. “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,” McCall said. “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.”

Source: Stanford News


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  • FET project

  • EC funded

  • Under FP7

  • Project details

    Project number: 258749
    Call (part) identifier: FP7-ICT-2009-5
    Project Start Date: 1st September 2010
    Project Duration: 48 month

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