Blue Marble Games Aid People With Traumatic Brain Injuries

1 - Blue Marble Games Aid People With Traumatic Brain Injuries
2 - Interactive Exercise for the Elderly
3 - Posture Exercises in a 3D Park
4 - A Scavenger Hunt for Survival
5 - Testing Motor Response on Bell Island
6 - Challenging Cognitive Abilities
7 - Practicing Balance on the Island
8 - Reset Strengthens Coordination
9 - Algorithms and Executive Function
10 - Reset Helps Clinicians Evaluate Memory
11 - Reset Uses the Samsung SUR40 Tabletop PC
12 - Deep Ocean Provides Clinicians With Gaming Data
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Blue Marble Games Aid People With Traumatic Brain Injuries

by Brian Horowitz

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Interactive Exercise for the Elderly

A prototype game for the elderly, Zoezi Park uses Microsoft's Kinect to provide an interactive exercise program consisting of an obstacle course with stations along the way. "Zoezi" is a Swahili word for exercise. Performing the exercises allows the elderly to reduce falls by 35 percent, according to Flynn, who sees the game becoming part of an insurance plan and people receiving it for a 65th birthday present. "They'd have to play the game for the rest of their lives," she said. "That's how you stay balanced."

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Posture Exercises in a 3D Park

By walking through different stations in the 3D environment, Zoezi Park players can pick up different tips on posture and other health-related topics. "One of the things that makes our game different from a regular off-the-shelf Kinect game is that we have embedded in our game a few safety checks," Flynn said. "We're trying to avoid putting people in an unsafe situation, but at the same time to work on their balance so they won't fall."

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A Scavenger Hunt for Survival

Treasure of Bell Island is an adventure game named after the initials of "traumatic brain injury" (TBI), also called intracranial injury, in which a bump or jolt—like from a football game or motor vehicle accident—can cause damage to the brain. Players challenge their cognitive functions as a treasure-hunting company member stranded on an island.

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Testing Motor Response on Bell Island

Treasure of Bell Island tests motor response times, and clinicians or therapists can observe how easily patients are distracted by objects such as butterflies. The game also aids soldiers with amputations and post-concussive brain injuries.

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Challenging Cognitive Abilities

Treasure of Bell Island allows people with traumatic brain injuries to practice daily living by making sure they and other characters in the game get enough food and rest along the way to rescue Professor Swan. "It's about building shelters, getting enough rest and taking care of yourself," Flynn said.

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Practicing Balance on the Island

Games such as Treasure Bell Island allow clinicians to track whether patients are benefiting from the game playing, Flynn said. As users practice their balance in the game, doctors can monitor the results to see if their balance is sufficient and if they're doing enough repetitions.

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Reset Strengthens Coordination

Reset is a game that works to restore cognitive skills following mild traumatic brain injury. It consists of 13 to 15 assessments a clinician would carry out for people with brain injuries and allows participants to strengthen their visual perception, memory and coordination.

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Algorithms and Executive Function

On a touch-screen device, "taps are tracked and fed through a series of algorithms that provide clinicians with a window into how a person's memory and executive function are working," Flynn said.

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Reset Helps Clinicians Evaluate Memory

In Reset, gamers play the manager of an airplane hangar and must organize the parts of the airplane. Among 32 levels, "there's a lot of thinking and planning that goes on to successfully complete the airplane," Flynn said, noting that the attention to detail is a good test of executive function.

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Reset Uses the Samsung SUR40 Tabletop PC

Reset is playable on a Mac, PC or a 40-inch Samsung tabletop computer, which incorporates Microsoft PixelSense technology. PixelSense can recognize fingers, hands and objects touching the screen using integrated sensors in the screen.

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Deep Ocean Provides Clinicians With Gaming Data

Deep Ocean provides a Web portal for clinicians to collect data on how a player performs in Blue Marble's games. The company has organized the data according to various cognitive and physical skills, and clinicians can export the data to an electronic health record (EHR).

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