Sony’s PlayStation 5 Controller Might Monitor Your Heart Rate, Sweaty Palms

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Each new console generation takes controllers to new places. Over the years we’ve gotten analog sticks, rumble, and wireless connectivity. With the PS5, Sony is reportedly looking to completely overhaul the controller experience. In a newly unearthed patent, we see Sony has developed a system by which your game controller can measure your heart rate and perspiration. That turns it into a little handheld polygraph. 

According to the patent, Sony wants to use your heart rate and sweat production as “biofeedback” signals in games. The patent says this could lead to a more immersive experience. Presumably, a game could plug into the stats collected by the DualShock 5 to adjust the gameplay. As you get more anxious or excited, a game could ramp up the action. Or if you’re exceptionally calm, a game could throw something surprising at you. 

The patent uses a typical DualShock 4SEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce to illustrate the design, but we believe this is all about the DualShock 5. The controller has special “sleeves” on the grip portions to act as electrical sensors. The controller is therefore capable of measuring electrodermal activity (EDA), sometimes known as galvanic skin response. The same sensor modules could also record your heart rate. Essentially, Sony is turning its controller into a polygraph. As we should all recognize by now, lie-detectors don’t actually detect lies — they measure the subject’s emotional state. That’s not great for confirming a lie, but it might help developers tune the experience to a player’s state of mind. 

Sony also notes that virtual reality is becoming increasingly popular, and immersion is of even greater importance in such games. This same biofeedback system could make VR titles much more intense. Imagine a virtual world that knew how stressed you were. 

Along with previous leaks, it appears Sony is spending a lot of time designing its new controller for the PS5. We’ve already heard about the inclusion of more precise and powerful haptic feedback rather than simple rumble functionality. The company has also apparently been working on finger tracking for VR that could do away with the controller entirely (in some situations). 

We expect to hear more about the PlayStation 5 and its fancy new controller later this year. Although, rumor has it that Sony is struggling to keep costs down. We could be looking at a much higher price tag than the last few console generations.

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