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Sony tested PS4 controllers that could detect stress and sweaty hands

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During development of the PlayStation 4 hardware, Sony went through a number of different models for the DualShock 4 controller, including one that sensed players' stress through sweaty hands, lead architect Mark Cerny told Stuff.tv.

According to Cerny, Sony tested gamepads that could detect players' galvanic skin response — that is, the conductivity of players' skin, which can indicate increased stress based on how sweaty their palms are.

"We had a long research project where we looked at pretty much any idea we could think of," Cerny said. "Would it help to measure the galvanic response of the skin? We tried out a tremendous number of things — and then we went to the game teams to ask them what they thought they could use from the controller."

While the finalized PS4 controller does include a touchpad, it won't be measuring players' sweat output. Cerny added that the DualShock's new design was influenced in part by first-person shooters.

"Historically we have heard many times that our controllers have not been ideal for first-person shooters, so we wanted to make sure we had something that would be much better for that genre," he said. "We tested the throw of the triggers, the position of the triggers, how much pressure it takes. We looked at the joysticks, the dead spot, we looked at convexity and concavity." The end result, he says, "feels extraordinarily natural.

"I haven't heard a negative comment about it yet," he added. "For a controller with a very different form factor that was just amazing to see."