Biofeedback Video Games a Heartbeat Away

A Fujitsu engineer in Tokyo demonstrates the company’s real-time pulse monitor system, which uses cameras in PCs, tablets, or smartphones to measure a user’s pulse. (Credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

A trio of researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have created a therapeutic video game that rewards children with anger issues for keeping their heart rate down. Right now, the kids can play the game only in a therapist’s office because it requires pulse-monitoring equipment.

That’s about to change.

Japanese firm Fujitsu this week announced a consumer-ready visual pulse monitor. The software calculates a subject’s pulse in as little as five seconds by measuring the fluctuation of subtle colors in portions of the user’s face. According to C-Net, the system requires no special equipment and works with any camera connected to a computer.

The announcement solves a “local frustration” for the Children’s Hospital team—which aimed to send their game home with patients. It also opens the door to a whole new world of biofeedback video games.

Pair this technology with the next generation of Microsoft’s Kinect, and you can have fitness games that keep you working at just the right level. Pair it with a horror title, and the game could customize its brand of scary to fit your brand of nightmares.

If a trio of pediatric researchers have already thought of this, some video game designer somewhere has had the same idea. Keep an eye out across the internet. Don’t be surprised if a tech demo-style game for this approach shows up somewhere.


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One thought on “Biofeedback Video Games a Heartbeat Away

  1. Pingback: Fujitsu präsentiert visuellen Pulsmesser | MedicalDesignBlog

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