The Immersion is an organic piece of plastic that snakes around your head like a pair of wrap-around headphones. Rather than play music, it injects itself into your ears to track your pulse through the thin capillaries in your skin. From here, it can read your frustration levels like a book, and adjust a video game to get harder, adding more and more bad guys, the madder you get.
Creator Samuel Matson (who has worked at Samsung, IBM, and Nike) equates the digital punishment to a basketball player being called for a foul. Does that mean Immersion is a cruel joke? Or is it a tool gamers can use to learn to control their own emotions, firing off headshot after headshot in Call of Duty like a digital zen master?
The verdict is out as far as I’m concerned, but the project is still a taste of our more connected future to come. Immersion is, in essence, a Bluetooth wearable that’s not so different from the Nike+ Fuelband fitness tracker. The difference is that while the Fuelband uses our data to give us a report about our activity, Immersion uses our data to customize the experience around us in real time.
So while today, Immersion might add more enemies as my stress levels increase, tomorrow, a system like Google Glass might recognize eye strain and adjust the brightness of my monitor to compensate, or a fitness accessory like Fitbit might see I’m falling short of my day’s activity, and signal the elevator to tell me to take the stairs.
Indeed, it’s the automatic, hand-holding, preconceived interactions like these that make wearables so exciting. And okay, so potentially infuriating.