Valve experimenting with sweat-based Left 4 Dead and eye-controlled Portal 2

Valve is experimenting with player sweat as part of experimental research into biometric feedback as it relates to games, Valve experimental psychologist Mark Ambinder explained during a session at the NeuroGaming Conference and Expo last week, attended by VentureBeat.

According to Ambinder, the company has conducted a number of biofeedback experiments based on player sweat, player calmness and eye tracking. This so far has resulted in a version of Portal 2 that can be controlled with your eyes as they can move much more quickly than your hands. Data from experiments based on sweat levels and player calmness has also fed into Left 4 Dead and offers insight into how much time should be required in completing an objective.

This isn't the first time Valve has made it known it is looking into biometric controllers; however, so far this is only part of a testing phase.

"One thing we are very interested in is the notion of biofeedback and how it can be applied to game design," said Ambinder. "There is potential on both sides of the equation, both for using physiological signals to quantify an emotional state while people are playing the game. The more interesting side of the equation is what you can do when you incorporate physiological signals into the gameplay itself. If we could start tapping into that, we could tap into a whole wealth of data."

During his talk, Ambinder also stated that biofeedback could potentially be used in finding better multiplayer matches, creating game profiles and influencing content design. Check out the video above for the full session.

More from Polygon

The horror of Five Nights at Freddy's

  • Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Spacecom: a fast 4X built for multiplayer

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.