You knock off a couple of zombies and your palms get sweaty. Your health borders on zero and your heart rate goes up. The controller your holding knows this and reacts accordingly.

At least, that's the plan Stanford engineers are working on with a custom Xbox 360 controller. You can see it in the video above. The controller, created in the lab of researcher Gregory Kovacs and his graduate students, features metal sensors that read players' heart rates, blood flow, rate of breathing, and how deeply they are breathing. An accelerometer measures how your hands move. Custom software reads all of this data and adjusts game settings accordingly.

"If a player wants maximum engagement and excitement, we can measure when they are getting bored and, for example, introduce more zombies into the level," said doctoral candidate Corey McCall. "We can also control the game for children. If parents are concerned that their children are getting too wrapped up in the game, we can tone it down or remind them that it's time for a healthy break."

Over at Fast Company, writer Mark Wilson points out that while it's incredibly cool to see this built into a controller we're already holding, Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox One already makes these types of measurements. However, Kinect's physiological measurements have yet to be widely used.

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[via Stanford University, Fast Company]