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Nintendo patent reveals emotion tracking projector

Nintendo’s attempts to diversify its revenue streams are about to get a little more unusual, with the company proposing a device that projects images above your bed.

The Japanese company has already confirmed that its much-loved video game characters will soon appear on smartphones, but it seems that further innovation could be on the way.

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A recently filed patent application reveals that Nintendo is working on a bedside dock with a built-in projector. The dock will hold an as yet unknown device, probably a smartphone, and will detect the user’s emotions using a microphone and camera.

It is believed that the projector patent relates to the healthcare platform that Nintendo announced late last year. At the time, Nintendo explained that the aim of the project was to improve quality of sleep and it is possible that the projector is a way of gamifying the process of falling asleep. Other sleep data like body temperature and pulse rate is also recorded, sent to the cloud and then analysed so appropriate feedback can be given.

Should the device see a commercial release, it would mark a significant departure away from Nintendo’s usual offering in the video game market. That being said, sleep tracking technology is being offered by a number of other businesses, either through specialist hardware or a smartphone app.

It is also not surprising that Nintendo is no longer relying solely on its video game business. Disappointing sales figures for its Wii U console have meant that the company has lost huge ground to its rivals, Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. As well as the sleep tracking device, rumours have circulated that Nintendo is looking to open a theme park that will make use of its iconic characters, including Mario and Donkey Kong.

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The company is also undergoing a change in leadership, following the unexpected death of president Satoru Iwata earlier this month.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.