Affective Feedback: Learning Skills in the Virtual World for Use in the Real WorldBy McDarby, Gary; Condron, Jim; Sharry, John; Assistive Technology - Shaping the Future: AAATE 2003 Conference Proceedings, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 76-82
Publication Date: 2003
Paper outlines four biofeedback/virtual reality projects developed by the MindGames team at Media Lab Europe designed to help people with disabilities to understand and gain more control over their physiological state. The four projects are: (1) Relax to Win, (2) Brainchild, (3) Mental Leaps, and (4) Breathing Space. Relax to Win is the first video game developed by the MindGames team that enhances biofeedback. The application is a two-way player competitive racing game in which the players can win by learning to relax. Each player takes control of a dragon, which has three cycles of movement: (1) walk, (2) run, and (3) fly. As a player relaxes, the dragon moves though walk, then run, and finally begins to fly. Should the player begin to feel a higher level of stress, the dragon slows down, and vice-versa. Relaxation is measured by placing electrodes on each player’s middle and index fingers. Stress levels rise as skin pores close, which is picked up by electrodes. Relax to Win has been piloted as a therapeutic aid to help children with anxiety disorders. Brainchild is a biometrically controlled modular computer game that teaches the user how to gain control over various bio-signals. The game immerses the player in a fantasy storyline, narrated by a mentor who facilitates relaxation using interactive dialogue. A virtual lock is opened when the player relaxes. Levels of relaxation are measured by a combination of galvanic skin response and alpha wave content. Mental Leaps is a video game that aims to teach the user the skill of sustained attention, as measured by their performance in the game and by EEG brainwave feedback. A maze is presented in which the user controls an imp-like character named Spreet, who is chased through a maze by a lumbering character named Mawg. The way out of the maze is revealed only if the user measures a high level of attention. Breathing Space is a video game that helps players to gain a conscious awareness of their breathing patterns, and guides them to a state of deep diaphragmatic breathing. The player is charged with guiding a mystical three-dimensional flying creature through a lush valley. To reach its nest at the valley’s end, the creature must fly through a series of flaming hoops, which appear at intervals throughout the valley. The altitude, and ultimate fate of the creature are controlled by the players breathing patterns. All of the games presented in the paper share the central concern of helping the user learn constructive skills that can have physical and mental benefits in their everyday lives.
Assistive Products Discussed: BRAINCHILD
Published by: IOS Press (Website:http://www.iospress.nl)
Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) (Web Site: http://www.aaate.net )