Prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitation
The mainstream press has always latched onto the sedentary behaviour implicit with deeply immersive games and the RSI potential of the highly repetitive interactions demanded of them. However the ‘sensory controllers’ of the big three consoles has quashed this stigma and resulted in an influx of games which challenge dexterity, co-ordination and general levels of fitness.
Nintendo’s Wii Fit, Microsoft Xbox’s Kinect Fitness (Your Shape evolved) and Sony Playstation’s Move Fitness allow players to bring a virtual personal trainers into their own home. Each control system has it’s merits, but all three have the transformative potential that can come from the games ability to engage and motivate participation.
Screenshot: Xbox’s Kinect Fitness
The kickstarted Zombies, RUN! is a mobile game which adds gameplay and story to a traditional running app. A great cross-over product, that will get those that wouldn’t necessarily run, running. The follow up, The Walk is likely to be even more successful as it’s targets a bigger audience, walkers.
GeckoCap records a child’s use of an inhaler using a simple augmented cap. Game-like mechanics reward the child for participating, whilst the collected data is presented in way that allows parents to monitor and manage the disease. It’s simple and effective virtuous circle which allows for the effective management of the condition.
Whilst Nintendo’s 2009 vision of the pulse-driven gameplay has faded, the opportunity to read your vital statistics in game is palpably close. Xbox is leading this charge with it’s next-gen Kinect. The camera controller is so accurate that it can see the heartbeat of the player, pinpoint not just joints but also joint rotations, track muscle tension based on body models and can also interpret the amount of force being applied to both your body the floor. The tech demo shows this in action. The potential for games to diagnose and rehabilitate a range of structural and postural conditions is huge.