There’s been a lot of talk about the Nintendo Switch 2: a console that Nintendo could roll out in the coming years to better compete with the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X. However, Nintendo has never been a company to follow the prevailing hardware trends, and a recent patent proves it.
In addition to whatever game console Nintendo’s working on next, it may also want to release a smartphone-like health tracker that can monitor your sleep, keep track of your vitals, evaluate your emotional state and even make a room smell better.
Japanese Nintendo reported on the patent application for the strange device, and also provided a helpful translation of the 61-page document’s salient points. The application, which Nintendo submitted in September 2019, describes a handheld mobile device that plugs into a docking base in the user’s home, not entirely unlike a Switch.
The mobile device tracks a user’s activity throughout the day, and also contains an environmental sensor, a camera and a microphone, which can help evaluate a user’s emotional state. The docking station, though, is the more interesting part: It contains a Doppler sensor that monitors a user’s respiration rate and pulse, in addition to an image projector, a camera, a speaker, an environmental sensor and perhaps even an “odor-generating device.”
While Nintendo doesn’t have a specific name for the device in mind, its functionality is relatively easy to understand. Nintendo wants to create a health-tracking device that can monitor more than just your steps and your heart rate. Between the mobile terminal and the base station, Nintendo wants to be able to monitor both your physical and mental health — and take steps to improve it, particularly the latter.
Nintendo spends a lot of time in the application discussing the device’s sleep-tracking potential. The docking station will be able to track how long you sleep, how long you spend in bed without sleeping, how much of the sleep was light vs. deep, how often you wake up and even how much you snore. The docking station’s projector could also display images that help you get to sleep at night, or wake up in the morning.
It just wouldn’t be a Nintendo system without a game, and Nintendo suggests that the game involved here might play like Ring Fit Adventure. The game (which may or may not involve Mario and Bowser — the application images are not necessarily representative of a final product) employs a user’s health information to make progress in the game, although playing it is not entirely passive. There will also be quizzes and puzzles in order to evaluate a user’s mental alertness.
It’s worth pointing out that this device is not the same thing as Pokémon Sleep: an upcoming mobile game that uses Pokémon Go technology to monitor a user’s sleeping patterns. Furthermore, as with any patent application, this isn’t a product that Nintendo is guaranteed to make. It’s simply something that Nintendo doesn’t want another company to make first.
We’ll see whether Nintendo has any plans to integrate this device with the potential Switch 2. After all, Ring Fit Adventure has been one of the surprise breakout hits on the current Switch, and this technology doesn’t sound entirely dissimilar.