When Nintendo demonstrated its Vitality Sensor at E3 it came as a bit of a non sequitur with no-one quite sure exactly what to make of it. That still seems to be the case for the most part, but details are starting to emerge, the latest courtesy Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, who says the sensor "would like to deliver the actual product not too late in the year next year."
Speaking in an investor Q&A, Iwata says that Nintendo plans to use the wii Vitality Sensor to create a number of unique games. The initial title using the sensor will use a "theme of relaxation, which is completely opposite from traditional ones, to enrich the users' lives." Apparently a great deal more information than just heart rate can be gleaned using the pulse reader, giving a picture of the user's state of relaxedness. This can then be used to encourage activities which reduce stress, and monitor their effectiveness.
However, while Nintendo wants to break into new territory, it is also looking at ways to tie the Vitality Sensor into ‘normal' games. A good example, says Iwata, would be "measuring how horrified a player is in a horror title." Perhaps Res Evil 5 will be able to have zombies up out at players right at the wrong moment - as if the franchise wasn't already good enough at scaring the living daylights out of players.
Obviously this is all pretty speculative at the moment. From Iwata's words it seems that even Nintendo isn't entirely sure how the Vitality Sensor will ultimately end up being used. Still, given the success of Wii Fit - based on using what pretty much amounts to a set of scales as the basis for a number of games - it seems reasonable to expect Nintendo to pull something out of the bag with the Vitality Sensor, too.