Sessions for Games for Health 2013

Many more sessions are coming, but here is the first draft of content we’re going to have at this year’s Games for Health Conference including our first announced keynote!

Stay tuned for more announcements and additional information over the next two weeks as we finalize all three days of Games for Health 2013.

First Announced Keynotes!

Healing and Health with Virtual Reality
Palmer Luckey, Founder Oculus VR

For years, developers have strived to make immersive virtual worlds, and gamers have spent countless billions on the systems that play them best. Software, hardware, and input devices have all leapt forward, but the connection between the player and the virtual world has remained limited.

We’ve dreamed of stepping inside of our games, but the best we’ve been able to do is puppet characters through a tiny window! Until now. Technological progress in a variety of fields has finally brought immersive virtual reality within reach.

During this keynote, Oculus VR founder, and designer of the Oculus Rift VR headset, Palmer Luckey will talk about the intersection of body, mind, and virtual reality, and offer insights into how this new game technology can make a positive impact on the health of people and communities.

How a Mobile Game (and Zombies!)
Got 500,000 People Running for Their Lives!


Six to Start and author Naomi Alderman combine the emotional power of world-class storytelling with next-generation media to make unforgettable games and experiences.

Arguably the best mobile exergame to date, Zombies, Run! has sold over 400,000 copies and has seen fans of the game from around the world use it as a key part of their outdoor and indoor exercise routine.

This Keynote presentation by members of Six to Start’s Zombies, Run! team will delve into the inside story of the game’s development. From its successful Kickstarter debut to its current bestselling status on leading mobile platforms, you’ll get it all – with zombies included.

Over 40 additional sessions are also now posted online including…

Games for Autism: Therapy and Diagnosis

This session combines two talks orientated around opportunities with games for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Talk 1: Access Granted: Exploring Video Games as a Therapeutic Tool for Children with Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting approximately 1 in 88 individuals in the United States. General characteristics of ASD include deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests. Regardless of ASD symptoms, research indicates that individuals with this disorder prefer to engage with activities they find interesting and motivating.

During this talk research and findings will be presented developed by exploring both how and why individuals with ASD choose and interact with technology, especially popular media such as video games and the perceptions of their parents about games and related technologies. Attendees to this session will gain insight on how, and why games might be effective for children with Autism and the best paths to successfully addressing Autism populations with games.

Talk 2: Assessing Play: Using Games To Diagnose Autism

This talk looks at how a game-based solution of interactive social challenges can help to possibly replace or augment existing clinical methods for childhood diagnosis of Autism with a game-based solution.

The psychological and psychiatric clinicians have been the driving force behind our game because they are frustrated by the lack of ecological validity in the most widely used interview-based methodologies. Time and again, parents doubt that the answers children provided when presented with oral descriptions of social situations are accurately representative of what they have seen those children do in similar situations in real life.

This presentation will showcase a system that weaves assessment into a game environment and will include discussions of how it was tailored to different environments and for addressing social information processing issues like those faced by children on the Autism spectrum. Also included will describe preliminary clinical results gathered in early 2013 as this game is shared with both ASD and Typically Developing Children.

Games for a New Climate: An International Collaboration in Research and Design

Is play an effective vehicle for preparing for climate change? Can games be part of long-term strategies for better organizing volunteer-driven organizations? Do academic-driven research methods lead to field-ready tools? Over the last four years, Parsons The New School for Design’s PETLab has collaborated with the American Red Cross and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre to explore these and other questions.

Games for a New Climate has produced games with ambitious goals: prepare communities at risk due to changes in the local climate; assist the Red Cross staff in training its volunteers; and help individuals and communities better forecast and plan for potential problems, including the implications of climate change on public health. John Sharp, PETLab’s co-director, will discuss the games the project has produced, the methodologies used for developing the games, and the successes and shortcomings of the project thus far.

New ideas for Pervasive Exergaming

Exergaming is a stalwart genre in commercial game circles now. Extensions into schools have become regular forays of companies often as adjuncts to P.E. class curriculums. Despite all the activity there remains a large gap between the capabilities and sales of exergames as a commercial category and their scaled and applicable uses in organizations such as schools, and even enterprises.

This session gathers two projects and a leading researcher together to explore new concepts in exergaming. Pervasive exergaming imagines a world where the distance between any one user and a beneficial exergaming experience is reduced to 0. There is no major equipment to be secured. Experiences are tied together across modalities and locations and the gamut of activities and presentations moves beyond just a fitness oriented dipiction.

Attendees to this session will get an overview of where exergaming stands today and what sorts of new trends may be signaling innovation and opportunities to reduce the barriers to exergaming reaching its potential. This review will then give way to presentations by two projects that are looking to break exergaming into new forms and platforms.

HealthTeacher is using purposely simple game concepts delivered over the Web to classrooms to create easily deployable movement games into schools that can be played outside distinct periods of P.E.

Fitness Interactive eXperience is creating a browser based experience that acts as a delivery platform of exergame experiences to end users across multiple population types to become a system that could stitch together many distinct forms of exergaming together.

What We’ve Learned From Casual Games and Where We’re Going With Defense Games

Featuring six years of data collection from ongoing studies on the effects of casual video games on depression, anxiety and cognition, this presentation provides an overview of research at East Carolina University’s Psychophysiology Lab that has been compiling evidence of the positive effects of casual video games on health.

Emphasis will be placed upon the usefulness of casual video games in ameliorating symptoms of physical and mental conditions as well as in improving overall cognitive function/performance. Data from several recently completed studies using physiological and biochemical markers will be presented.

The session will also discuss a new Department of Defense funded projects involving naturalistic games for assessment, intervention and evaluation using mobile platforms.

Attendees will learn about current neurological theories and research findings on the positive effects on stress, mood and cognition, hear a discussion about the practical applications for video games with positive health effects, and discuss the use of naturalistic games for assessment industry.

Virulent & Progenator X : Using Games to Explore the Science of Biology & Health

The University of Wisconsin’s Games, Learning, and Society Lab (GLS) has created and distributed several games that focus on explaining key biological concepts to the public-at-large. This session features demonstrations of those projects, how they came to be, and what was learned by creating and releasing them.

Two Board Games for Health : Monster Appetite & Aligning Forces 4 Quality

Increasingly we are seeing game designers move back and forth between paper and electronic forms and cross-pollinating ideas between the two modalities. While Games for Health focuses heavily on computer-game based projects this session looks at two recently developed board games designed to address issues in health & healthcare.

Monster Appetite addresses the obesity epidemic, one of America’s largest public health challenges, now growing in the rest of the world.

In light of efforts to combat the obesity epidemic, Monster Appetite (MA) is a
game that potentially remediates some aspects of the concern by promoting awareness of the content of food typically consumed by children.

The Aligning Forces For Quality game is a new game project focusing on how to help groups seeking to improve healthcare quality across many regions of the country. The project is a collaboration between Dartmouth College’s Tiltfactor Lab, Digitalmill, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundations Aligning Forces for Quality National Program.

In each case presenters will discuss the design work involved in each game and how it is being rolled out to their target communities. Discussion about how the ideas might translate into computerized forms and whether such ideas provide useful advantages (or not) will also take place.

Frontline Implementation with Clinicians: Lessons from Zamzee

Zamzee is a research-proven Health Game that increases tweens’ physical activity. A six-month randomized clinical trial in 2012 by HopeLab Foundation showed that tweens using Zamzee were 59% more physically active then a control group.

Today pediatricians across the country use Zamzee Programs in primary care practices and weight management clinics to measure and motivate tween physical activity.

Learn how Zamzee developed programs to partner with healthcare providers and tackle the challenges of patient attrition, limited funding, over-scheduled doctors and sedentary behavior.

Finding a Revenue Stream in the Physical Therapy Gaming Business: Third Time’s a Charm

Physical therapy and related sensorimotor rehab games are often held up as one of the no-brainer business opportunities in the Games for Health field. Current rehabilitation protocols are often seen as repetitive and lacking in feedback or visual stimulation, resulting in low patient compliance. The drive to augment these activities through new technologies such as the Microsoft Kinect™, Sony Move, or Nintendo® Wii™ is clear to anyone who has looked at the many pilot projects built over the last several years.

Why then is there not a thriving commercial market for such games?

CSMi has been involved in the Physical Therapy and Athletic Training markets for many years and has recently begun building specific game-based product offerings. During this talk we’ll move beyond the topic of building better games and discuss developing sustainable business models for game-based therapy products.

The Sensorimotor Rehab and PT game market offers important lessons for developers looking at many different types of health & business opportunities with games. Come hear how one company has taken several runs and evolved its approach to turning game-based health interventions into new opportunities for patients, providers, and makers alike.

Designing Games for Chronic Disease Management : What we’ve learned

Helping a patient with chronic disease issues is one of the biggest challenges facing healthcare today. Roughly 50% of patients are failing to properly manage their health care, and lifestyle compliance hovers below 30%. Where are the magic levers of adherence and self efficacy that can drive change of often daily activities? Finding these levers is necessary if we are to reverse skyrocketing healthcare costs related to chronic disease.

Ayogo has learned that the psychology of games and play can be employed specifically to address the challenge of chronic disease management. To date they’ve prototyped or developed eleven games and applications that support patients with chronic disease.

This talk is designed to share the do’s and don’ts compiled while designing projects for leading health, pharma, and patient-related organizations. Drawing from the progression of Ayogo efforts like Healthseeker, attendees will gain the insight that often can’t be shared until you’ve been through the trials, errors, fires, and successes of multiple projects.

Revisioning Re-Mission

In 2013 HopeLab is releasing Re-Mission 2, the follow-up to the groundbreaking 2006 video game for young people fighting cancer. Learn how brain science, an unconventional development model and candid feedback from young cancer patients led to this next-generation health game.

Playforward: A Post-Mortem Panel of Designers, Developers & Researchers

PlayForward: Elm City Stories is an iPad-based game designed to help youth at-risk for HIV and STD infections.  The game was produced over the course of a 18 month period and is now completed and in the course of a randomize clinical trial with after-school youth in New Haven, CT.

The game is designed to integrate risk reduction skills with social learning narratives with the hope that the acqusition of skills, practicing of behaviors, and exposure to important narratives can help youth better negotiate risky situations related to early sexual activity.  Such risks can include early drug and alcohol use, poor STD knowledge and preparedness, blind risk taking, and more.

PlayForward’s design process was extremely rigorous and involved multiple designers, developers, and researchers working together as a team to produce a game that has over 1000 individual pieces of content organized across four mini-game sections, a large-scale narrative structure, and an aspirational avatar model designed to improve self-esteem and longitudinal life orientation.

During this session members of the PlayForward design, research, and development team will gather for a frank and open discussion of the game’s development, covering the beginning, middle, and completion focusing on both the high-points, low-points, and still active wishlists that all games have when completed.

During the post-mortem conversation hundreds of slides will cycle behind the team providing a glimpse into some of the game’s early artwork tests, content trials, and even some of the best emails, and memo highlights that will be taken from an trove of over 1000+ pages of content the team is currently cataloguing for future archiving.

Attendees will see a major game for health effort laid bare, learn tips and tricks that only get learned from the crucible of actual development.  You will have a chance to get a sense of the creativity and sacrifices needed to build a health behavior game from scratch that comprises over 12 hours of gameplay built on a tight budget.

“Pocket Ritual” – Developing A Phone App For Self-Exploration Based On The Hero’s Journey

“Self-directed play can get us in touch with our inner truth. If we follow our internal play-compass, it points the way to an authentic life, or what Joseph Campbell calls “bliss”. Free play, however, does not come easily to adults. If one is out-of-touch with oneself, one does not know where to start. In games, play is guided by rules. But usually games are about a specific, pre-defined idea.

This presentation focuses on the design of “Pocket Ritual”, a windows phone app for self-exploration, which addresses this issue. “Pocket Ritual” is a ludic framework that leverages the potential of free play for self-discovery, while providing a structure to guide it. At its center are 12 card categories, corresponding to the 12 steps of the hero’s journey. Each morning, the app randomly suggests cards within these 12 categories for players to build a hand and play throughout the day. Cards contain evocative questions for contemplation that refer to a stage on the journey. E.g. a card that belongs to the “mentor” stage might ask about supportive / admirable qualities in people (dead or alive) that you would like to be your mentors. Players can decide to accept or skip cards. Playing a card is accompanied by uploading a picture and adjective that represent the player’s emotional associations with the card. This process constructs the “Journey Landscape”. Each card category has a corresponding landscape tile (e.g. “ordinary world”; “threshold”; “inmost cave”). Playing cards transforms their associated landscape tiles, creating unique journeys that further invite reflection: if the pictures and adjectives associated with the “Threshold” are fearful or hesitant, this will be reflected in the audio-visual representation of the “Threshold” part of the journey.

The goal of this presentation on “Pocket Ritual” is to provide a further example of, and invite a dialogue about how games and ludic applications can promote emotional health and personal development, as well as to inspire more design work in that direction. The talk will give concrete examples of how research on play, creative recovery, authentic living and positive psychology informed the design, and reflect on the issues revolving around structured vs. free play to leverage play’s potential for personal growth.

The Return of “Zombie Yoga” – Introducing Emotions Into Motion Gaming

Last year we debuted Zombie Yoga in an initial talk at the Games for Health Conference 2012.  This year the zombies return…

“After a full year of Development at DePaul University, “”Zombie Yoga – Recovering the Inner Child”” has been completed. The team set out to develop a different kind of motion game: one in which the emotional aspect of playing the game is foregrounded and physical exercise is only regarded as a vehicle of interaction.

The themes “”Zombie Yoga”” tackles are also quite unusual for a motion game: you are playing burnt-out dancer Aya who finds no joy in dancing anymore and sets out on a movement-based meditation using Yoga poses to access her inner landscape, overcome the grief associated with the death of her grandfather, emancipate from an overbearing mother and recover her playfulness. The body is used to empower the mind, following ancient traditions of Yoga and Tai Chi. This distinguishes the title from many exergames out there, which focus almost entirely on the physical aspects.

This talk introduces the finished game and provides insight into its design process: the decisions that were made to create an emotionally driven motion game, whose main focus was on inner processes rather than heart-rate, oxygen levels and work-out. It discusses the potential benefits of focusing on these psychological rather than physical themes for the purpose of reaching and audience who does not already have an affinity towards exercising.

The presentation includes will include data collected from playtest studies that have taken place during 2012-2013 and will be finishing up just prior to the June conference.  Also discussed will be efforts to help several other research groups launch further studies in brain injury settings as well as in regard to diabetes.

CogCubed: Using Shifteo Cubes for Diagnosing Cognitive Disorders

CogCubed has created an innovative game, built on a new interactive tangible-graphical gaming platform called Sifteo Cubes, designed to help in diagnosing cognitive disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and common comorbidities like Depression, Anxiety, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This new game, called Groundskeeper, provides a new approach to diagnostics.

Through this novel video game, data is tracked and stored at sub-second intervals. Traditional response measurements are captured in addition to new information, such as inter-response metrics. Through a clinical trial at the University of Minnesota, the efficacy of the game was evaluated. Novel data mining techniques were then applied to build several predictive models. We will explain this game, the Big Data captured, the predictive models, and the results of the study. Further, we will explain how this tool, which functions as a game, can be used to improve the diagnosis of cognitive disorders and the broader potential for patients.

Jive Health: Combining Real Food & Healthy Snack Recipes in an RPG Title for Kids

JiveHealth has set out to help solve the childhood obesity epidemic.  We are creating a smartphone game for children ages 7-12 to help introduce healthy and delicious foods into their diet.  It’s an action-based role-playing game like Temple Run, but in our game, you power up your characters by making recipes (e.g. apples and peanut butter).  However, some ingredients, such as the apple, only exist in the real world.  As a result, the player needs to collect a real apple, snap a picture of it, and the image recognition algorithm we’ve built will verify it and “digitize” it into a virtual apple.  That is then used to complete the recipe and power up the character.

Markets & Opportunities : A Summary & Outlook for Business Development

As the games for health field matures from its earliest beginnings we’re beginning to see real commercial activity take hold.  In this talk by the co-founder of The Games for Health Project we’ll walk through all the different markets in the field and identify the ones that are really taking hold and what the state of each one is.

Throughout the talk we’ll also identify the best near term and future opportunities that exist and how the changing nature of hardware, software, health, and game development is making exciting new ideas possible.

Attendees to this session will leave with a great understanding of the markets in games for health, where the most robust opportunities exist, and how to approach these opportunities best.

Research on Games for Health: Trends, Innovations, and Standout Studies

What was once a trickel of research is now becoming even more then a steady stream of research and research activity.  This session is designed to help attendees catch up on the latest while also helping active researchers and developers make sure they’ve not missed some of the best recent studies….

Sensors & Devices: The Future of Games for Health Hardware

It’s sometimes easy to forget that games run on hardware and that in today’s fast moving world hardware is exploding with many new devices and platforms that enable or augment not only game experiences but also health activity and tracking.

This 2013 Games for Health Conference briefing tackles all the information you need to know about the various hardware platforms and devices relevant to games for health developers and researchers.

The session is divided into two halves.  The first half of the session is devoted entirely to the emerging health and fitness sensor market.  2013 saw an explosion of these devices on the market including second and third generation devices alongside exciting new entrants.  During this talk we’ll examine all of these and provide some incite on how you work with each one and which ones are most gaining traction today and which ones we think will be important going forward.

The second half of the session will look at a number of non-sensor related hardware products.  This includes an array of hardware categories such as new game consoles, smartTV products, new mobile phone systems, and input devices, that already are or are going to be important for games for health developers as they develop new ideas.

Attendees to this session will leave far more informed about relevant hardware products, systems, and platforms then when they entered the room.  Specific care across each device mentioned across both talks will be given to explaining specifically how to develop with/for that platform.

Quantified Self, Games & Gamification

Quantified self is the grassroots movement organized around the principal of personal biometric data gathering and analysis.  This nascent movement has grown in both size and influence over the years as people have become more interested in health but also in novel systems and services for measuring all sorts of biometric data and behavioral activity.

Some elements of the quantified landscape are very niche, novel, and experimentative – a sort of personal health hacking underground.  Other elements involve full blast startups and major products like Runkeeper, My Fitness Pal, Nike Fuel, and Jawbone Up which are clearly mass-market but also heavily influenced by the quantified self pioneers.

This sesion seeks to cover the gamut of activity that lies at the intersection of quantified self and games.  With a focus on outliers at first, we’ll comb the landscape looking for interesting stories that standout and offer interesting ideas for new innovations and apporaches to games that can improve health, fitness.  By the end we’ll work our way up to more mass market products, services, and communities, to get both a complete understanding of the activity taking place, but also the potential contrasts between the more hacker oriented culture on one end, and the large-scale consumer offerings on the other.

Attendees to this session will learn more about the world of quantified self, its related markets, but more important where things currently stand between personal health data, games and gamification, and what directions they could move in as the future unfolds.

The use of games for health: Is there a “gaming addiction” side effect?

Games for health are widely used in medicine and psychology, but there is still the question, if there are any side effects of using games – can people get addicted to games?

Psychologists are generally familiar with the concept of “addiction”. Nevertheless, there is no specific definition of addiction in the DSM; disorders connected with addiction are dispersed throughout the manual. For example, substance related disorders refer to the dependence (not addiction!) of a substance, e.g. alcohol, cocaine or marijuana.

However, some researchers applied a concept of addiction (or substance related disorder) to an excessive use of games and labeled it “”online gaming addiction””. Charlton and Danforth (2007) discussed this general application of addiction to “excessive gaming” critically; they emphasize the differences between a highly engaged and a solely “addictive” gaming behavior with similar criteria to those of substance related disorders. This is especially important when it comes to “”games for health”” – can a minority get addicted to games when there is a “”gaming overdose””? And how does this affect the psychological application of games for health?

This talk looks at the concept that the diagnostic criteria of “excessive” gaming still remains unclear; however, there are no doubts that there is a minority of gamers having problems because of an overuse of online roleplaying games. For example, we observed a sample of high-level World of Warcraft players in respect of differences between a highly engaged and addicted behavior. We found out that there are differences between a highly engaged and an addicted behavior with the first often erroneously labelled as “addiction”. There are significant differences when it comes to the weekly amount of time spent online, quality of life, etc.

Furthermore, research we’ll discuss showed “maladaptive cognitions concerning the Internet” as a crucial factor of “pathological internet use”, leading to a problematic use of the internet. Interestingly, in a recent study we found out that these maladaptive cognitions decrease in an intervention group (online game-based training for shy students); we didn’t find any effects in a waiting-list control group.

I present some results of our studies concerning gaming addiction and the use of interventions with the help of new media. Based on these results, this talk discusses the concept of “gaming addiction” critically, especially when it comes to the emerging field of games for health.

Bringing Action to Exergames for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder characterized by deficits in gross motor control and manual ability. Children with cerebral palsy often have difficulty engaging in casual exercise such as going for a bike ride or kicking around a ball with their friends. This can contribute to loss of mobility as the children grow.

Exergames, video games with an exercise component, represent a promising approach to helping children with CP to be more physically active. We have found that children with CP want to play fast-paced action videogames similar to those played by their friends without motor disabilities. This is particularly true of exergames, whose physical activity matches the fast-pace of action games. However, disabilities associated with CP can make it difficult to play action games.

Existing guidelines for developing games for people with motor disabilities can lead to slow-paced games that are accessible, but may lack the fun of fast-paced action games.

Through a year-long participatory design process with children with CP, we have discovered that it is in fact possible to develop action exergames for children with CP at level III on the Gross Motor Function Classification Scale.

We have developed and tested six fast-paced action exergames for children with CP. We have produced a revised set of design guidelines for games for children with CP, which retain the core principles of existing guidelines, while being compatible with fast-paced action.

The results of a follow up 8-week home trial showed high overall enjoyment and adherence. Players’ interest held up so strongly that more minutes were played in the final week than the first.”

Brush Off – The experimental toothbrushing videogame

Brush Off is a game that teaches young kids about maintaining great oral health and oral health habits.  Oral health habits are formed between ages five and six, hence Brush Off addresses these children. This collaboration brought together researchers to focus on psychology, visual perception, motor skills and attention while designers focused on character, song and gameplay.

See how we combined motion interfaces with health behavior theory and fun music to create a new tool to improve kids attitudes and behaviors around oral health.

International Review: Asia/Pacific

Games for health is a global undertaking and many exciting projects are taking place in the Asia-Pacific locations.  We’ve gathered together some of the most recent projects and relevant games with the help of our community members in the region to present an up-to-date overview of work in the region.

International Review: Europe

Exciting work in the games for health field is being done throughout Europe.  Working with our partners and community members in the region we’ve gathered together a summary of great research, projects, and games from the region.  We’ll also discuss the upcoming Games for Health Europe III which will take place in the Netherlands later in the fall of 2013.

Malaria Spot: Building A Global Network of Virtual Malaria Hunters Through Gameplay

According to the World Health Organization approximately 216 million cases of malaria occur in the world and the disease kills about 655,000 people. Malaria is a treatable infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.

Currently, “the gold standard” for malaria diagnosis worldwide consists of first detecting parasites and then counting the number of parasites in blood smears, manually through a microscope- usually the more the parasites more severe is the infection. An average of 100 images has to be visually checked by a specialist; a process that can take up to 30 minutes. Confirmation of a negative diagnosis is ultimately dependent on the technician’s expertise. In addition, over time, as malaria prevalence decreases, microscopy technician skills may be redeployed elsewhere.

Thus, we need scalable, fast, ubiquitous and accurate screening systems (a priority in the agenda for malaria eradication). Mobile phone coverage is reaching every corner of the planet and we see the global connectivity as an opportunity to distribute the images all over the internet.

We believe that there is so much on-line talent out there that can be used to analyze malaria images (while you play a game!). To start with, we have developed the MalariaSpot game. During the game, we will log all the player clicks (scores) – both parasites accurately hunted and mistakes – so the analysis of all the games played will allow us to learn (a) how fast and accurate is the parasite counting of non-expert microscopy players, (b) how to combine the analysis of different players to obtain accurate results as good as the ones provided by expert microscopists.

Geckocap: A Gamified Asthma Inhaler

Asthma is the most common chronic disease and one of the leading causes of hospitalization for American children. Nearly ten million– or one in seven– kids are affected by asthma. Worrisome for children and parents alike, asthma is also a pressing public health issue, costing the U.S. over $15 billion annually.

GeckoCap has developed mobile, digital, and smart tools that empower children as well as their parents and doctors to better manage asthma medication. GeckoCap’s glowing reminder system helps children build healthy habits and motivates them to take control of their health. With inhaler tracking, GeckoCap can also use inhaler activity to drive game-based experiences that can support managing asthma a collaborative effort, allowing parents and doctors to use games to drive adherence and behavior change in Asthma.

The Frontiers of Games & Neurotherapeutics, ESCoNS & More

While still an early and young field activity toward game-based neurotherapeutics is growing with a growing base of researchers and startup activity.  The Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society held its second annual conference earlier in 2013 at USC’s School for Cinematic Arts.  This 2.5 day event brought together leading neuroscientists and game developers to discuss the frontiers of game-based cognitive neurotherapeutics.

During this hour long presentation ESCoNS founding member Dr. Adam Gazzaley will provide not only a summary of the talks and events that took place at ESCoNS but also offer some perspective on this emerging sector of games+cognitive & emotional health.

The Aligning Forces for Quality Games for Data Challenge : Meet the Finalists

In late 2012 The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality national program launched a development challenge to spawn ideas around using gaming and gamification concepts to generate health data that can be incorporated into the Aligning Forces data set. Gamification has been an increasingly hot topic in the health space, but seldom have games been used for the express purpose of creating data to improve the health and the quality of care in a community (big or small).

This session covers the creation of that challenge and how it unfolded.  Each of five finalists for the two-part challenge will also be presented.  See how five different teams are attacking the problem space the challenge seeks to answer.

Not only will audience members learn about a unique opportunity for games and data in health & healthcare but. as the final submission date for the remaining five competitors is roughly four weeks after the Games for Health Conference there is a chance to offer feedback and comments to each finalist that may help them win one of the remaining three top prizes from the challenge.

Come join the Health 2.0 Development Challenge team and each finalist for a session about data, games, and the difficult challenge of engaging and enhancing outcomes around health quality.

Budgets, Tactics & Production : Getting Your Game Built

Developing games is difficult, requiring management of many moving parts, and the ability to consistently recalibrate activity around your core vision.  Like many serious game fields, the games for health field has many active projects and teams that are entirely new to the idea of building a game.

This Games for Health Conference Roundtable is designed for veteran and rookies alike to discuss the art and science of getting their games built, and built purposely for health outcomes.

Come swap stories, offer advice, and ask questions that can help make the difference immediately in your current and future projects.

Eyewire: A Game to Map The Brain

EyeWire is a game to map the brain. We are an online community of over 50,000 people from 100 countries — citizen neuroscientists — who map the 3D structure of neurons and discover neural connections. By joining EyeWire, players help map connections between retinal neurons. This information advances neuroscience research on how the retina functions in visual perception. Playing also helps the EyeWire team, based at MIT, develop computational technologies for mapping the connectome.

Sector Spotlight: Nutrition Games

To date there have been dozens of games of nutrition and it is now a genre within the games for health field that features constant activity.  This talk provides a dive into the nutrition games scene within the games for health field.

During the talk attendees will hear more A heavy focus will be on recent developments over the last year and research that has published or taken place to better our understanding of how to use games to help people make better choices about food, cooking, and eating.

The Affordable Game Act: Low Cost Approaches to Prototyping and Development

One of the biggest changes in the last several years that has coincided with the explosion of new game platforms has been the likewise explosion in new forms of game development tools and toolsets.  These tools such as GameSalad, Processing, Twine, Inklewriter, and Moai that offer new lower cost pathways to prototypes and full games, often with built-in cross platform capabilities.

Better tools are but one path to more affordable development and prototyping.  During this talk, we will cover tools, web services, and specific design and development techniques that can help you do a better job of advancing your ideas, exploring your hypothesis, and getting results.

This talk is designed to help you make sense of both the tools and techniques sides of building games for health that can be affordable and deployable.

Games for Health Journal: Speak with the Editor

Games for Health Journal, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publisher, is in its second year of publication.  Tom Baranowski, PhD, was named Editor-in-Chief as of Volume 2, Issue 2.  Tom will present some statistics about the journal and plans for the near future.  This is primarily an opportunity to ask the Editor about the Journal and getting articles published in it.

Depression Quest

Depression Quest is an award-winning game made to illustrate what people living with a mental illness experience. Come see how we made it, what it is, and what has happened since we’ve released it.

Players, Metrics & Markets:  How Social Apps, Games, and Gamified Systems Are Driving Digital Health

This session looks at the growing world of social & mobile apps and games that are growing fast and establishing a spectrum of activity from gamification to full games.  In many cases these efforts lie at the powerful intersection of players, metrics, and markets that many of the startup efforts in this field are trying to identify and optimize for success.

During this talk we’ll look at the gamut of activity in the mobile/social space that is a heterogeneous mix of apps, gamification, and games.  We’ll delineate between what is work, what is emerging, and what seems to be failing in general and specifically some of the leading subareas in games for health like fitness, neurogaming, and chronic disease management.

Special attention will be given to the underlying aspect of data analytics that are at play in this space (and increasingly across all games) and what you can do to adopt the best identified practices.  Finally, the talk will close with an analysis of the business models and funding to date.

The Front-lines of Implementation: A Discussion of When Games for Health are Actually in Use

As games for health move more into the market, the reality of the hard work of getting it used by target customers and facilitators begins.  Outside of many pilots, and a few successful direct-to-consumer efforts, little knowledge has been collectively captured about frontline implementation — especially at scale.  Most importantly, can we describe strategies and approaches that not only scale sales, but also impact?

This roundtable discussion at Games for Health is designed to begin capturing and nurturing best practices concerning implementation of finished games in health situations.  Be they games used by therapists, directly by users, in schools, after school programs, prescribed by doctors, used by coaches, and more, how is this being done and what are the unmet needs of this crucial last mile for games for health developers?

Join us for perhaps the most important roundtable to the future of games for health as it moves out of the labs, startups, and development studios of years past into the hands of people in need.

There is a Prize for That: A Review of Three Different Games for Health Development Contests

Over the past few years the idea of prize-based incentives for innovation has grown exponentially.  This is quite true in emerging areas of practice such as Games for Health.  The use of such methods is increasing, and we can expect more of it in the games for health field especially.

This panel gathers together recent users of prize-based contests, challenges, and game/idea jams to discuss their own specific stories and results and identify recommendations and best practices for the future.

Attendees considering using, or responding to these types of initiatives will gain insights that may prove helpful to creating or entering such endeavors.

Collaboration tactics: Finding talent, experts, and partners

Games for Health is a multi-disciplinary field comprised of many talents.  This roundtable is designed by request of past attendees to provide two important services:

1. Provide a space at The Games for Health Conference for people seeking collaborators and partners to meetup and more efficiently find each other.

2. Provide a space for dialogue about how to find and engage experts, talent, and partners in general.

The creation of great game projects require bringing together teams of great diversity, expertise, and commitment.  It is the one practice that can be better defined, and repeated that is closest to a recipe for success in this field.  Using that key element as a guiding principle come join this roundtable for a great discussion of best practices and needs.

Meetup: Exergaming & Sensorimotor Rehab Developers & Researchers

In years past the Exergaming and Sensorimotor Rehab tracks and communities have been a backbone to the games for health field and Games for Health conference.  With our new structure we’ve removed the tracks that brought these communities together to make room for more shared needs and crossover discussions.  However, it is important that some of the biggest and most advanced communities within the greater games for health field have spaces to gather, network, and explore freely issues that are specific to them.

This scheduled session provides a time and place for both communities interested in games and interfaces for physical activity related health to gather and talk openly.

Games for Health & Capital Formation

The Games for Health field is growing up.  The amount of strong entrepreneurial activity is growing faster-than-ever and the need and ability to raise capital has arrived at a tipping point.

This year Games for Health is adding what we expect to be a regular and growing portion of our program – a session on venture capital formation for games for health oriented startups.

Featuring a diverse panel of venture capital related experts and organizations we will discuss not only the basics of such deals, but more specifically where the opportunities in the games for health field exist and how they match against specific deal structures and capital pools that are in play today.

The Challenge of Discovery: Promoting Your Health Game

This session will be a combination of lecture and roundtable.  Starting out a presentation of how promotion is working in the games for health field and health apps in general will be provided.  This work will then set the stage for a discussion designed to ferret out techniques and other actions that are working for session attendees.

Join us to discuss how to promote your health game in general and how to drive discovery in crowded app and health marketplaces.

Meetup: Developing Local Games for Health Organizations & Events

Around the world more and more organizations and events are sprouting up promoting games for health.  Some are formalized Games for Health Project branded efforts like Games for Health Europe, and Games for Health Day at SIEGE in Atlanta.  Others are informal localized groups like Games for Health NY and Games for Health Rochester which were started by local interests.

This meetup event is designed to help more interested parties on a local and global basis discuss how they can host a local working group, event, or branded event on games for health.  Attendees will be able to hear what is working for existing groups and programs, and how they can partner with The Games for Health Project to make use of our resources to help them get started.

Help My Avatar is Sick: The Role of Avatars in Games for Health    

Building and updating on previous work presented at past games for health conferences this session delves into the various forms and functions that personal avatars are playing in games and especially in health and behavior.

Providing both recent research findings, and in-game examples the talk will cover ideas for avatar system design, and in-game use.

Attendees to the session will not only learn about underlying theories and outcomes from in-game avatars, but also creative approaches and uses that go beyond the mere idea of a human form embedded in a game world.

Accelerator Pathways for Funding, Development & Mentoring

Accelerators are a growing presence in the world of startups.  Recently game oriented accelerators have been growing around the world and verticals in health and fitness have also been founded.  These programs offer very specific opportunities and are especially useful for teams with established ideas and products that are looking for the support and final push needed to make the jump to greater levels of financing or market launch.

This panel brings together members of two successful accelerator systems one in games, and one in health to discuss how they operate, what types of entrepreneurs they work with best, how mentoring works, and the patterns of success that they see benefit from the accelerator process.  Once the basics are covered the panel will turn its attention to discussions of games for health specifically and without being partial to any one idea, talk about the opportunities and roadblocks exist toward seeing a more robust level of startup activity take hold.

Surveys & Instruments : What to Ask to Assess Games & How to Do It?

There are two basic ways to assess a game for health.  First, is to instrument the game itself and use analytics to understand what is happening to the player.  Second, is to design an out-of-game instrument that you can use to assess a player’s outcome.  Ideally you can do both and look for correlations and other insights between out-of-game-data and in-game-data.

In addition to assessing a specific game for health, there is also the opportunity to do surveys of people to explore their exposure to games for health in general, as well as attitudes and beliefs about health, games, or both.

In all these cases, and other outcome measurement methods one particular thread is constant.  What to ask to begin with, and how exactly to do it?  Often this requires not only expertise in sound research methodology but also in games themselves.  For example, in talks with gamers two distinct groups emerge concerning finishing games.  Some prefer to express “beating the game” while others use “finishing the game”.  Both can mean the same, or be interpreted as having slight differences concerning emotional impact.  Could such differences be important to follow-up player surveys?  How do you parse experienced game players from casual?  What’s the best way to prepare log files for analysis?

These ideas, and more will be discussed by a panel of researchers who have recently prepared games and outside-of-game instruments and surveys for health game assessment.  Together with the audience it is sure to provide an experienced and great discussion of how we determine what games in general, and specifically, are accomplishing with their players.

Interacting with Health Industry

The health industry is made up on many distinct components each with different roles, goals, and motivations.  During this roundtable we will discuss all the different segments such as pharma, practitioners, payers, employers, fitness, government, and more.  At each stop along this gamut we’ll ask one important question for the group assembled:  How do we work with these groups to build and provide the products and services they want?  From that will arise the inevitable derivatives such as:

–  Finding the right partners within each segment or organization

–  Identifying investment, grant, and funding resources

–  Working on implementation

–  Better understanding their business model and needs

Join us as we dissect each sector in the larger health ecosystem and ideally leave better prepared to engage and work with the best and most important organizations in each.

Meetup: Cognitive & Emotional Health Developers & Researchers

Meetups are designed to provide a time and space to support critical birds of a feather discussions.  Our cognitive and emotional health meetup brings together developers and researchers from one of the most active games for health subgroups.

Grants, Academic & Government Pathways to Funding & Development

This round table discussion is meant to capture knowledge and provide a forum for discussing funding and development support opportunities that come from public and NGO organizations.  Given the special nature of core grant pipelines available from government we will spend a majority of our time discussing not only each grant pipeline and how to better navigate them, but also different sectors of the government and how far along they are in supporting game-based efforts and what can be done collectively to improve that.

For developers present in this session care will be taken to include discussions about academic partnering, and commercialization of academic research into private-company product pipelines.

Lessons Games for Health Efforts Can Take From the Evolving Commercial Videogame Business

The commercial games business is over $50B in global revenues that is currently going through gut wrenching changes.  This talk will focus on these changes both good and bad, and relate them to the challenges and opportunities in the games for health field.

By looking at changes like free-to-play, mobile games, the indie scene, federated aggregators like Kongregate and new systems like Ouya, and Gamestick there is a lot to learn from the leading edges of change in games as a whole.

Grant, proposal, and RFP writing : Selling Your Game for Health Ideas & Skills

This roundtable discussion will attempt to draw out questions, answers, and tough problems related to the many aspects of writing, and responding to grants, development, and research proposals.  The agenda will start with discussion about the actual writing of an RFP and what could make RFPs from both public and private organizations from both the provider and responder perspectives.

The discussion will then shift to what makes for great responses tackling both calls for research, and calls for development.  Through it all we will attempt to collect a series of tips both for providers and responders that we can share online in an effort to improve the results that come from the traditional process that lies at the heart of how many games and related research are funded.

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