Game design plays a central role in games for health. We reviewed literature presenting head-mounted display VR games specifically designed as health applications and looked at how game design has been implemented and discussed in research.
Most address health contexts related to physical exercise, motor rehabilitation, and pain
Mechanics are typically based on obstacles, challenges, and extrinsic reward systems
Narrative experiences and non-physical exercise interventions were less common
Overall discourse on game design lags behind what’s seen in more games industry-related spaces
This year has been quite demanding in terms of adapting to new circumstances. However, it’s also been a circumstance that has seen many people adopt new technologies, from teleconference to XR apps. Here are a few interesting new XR for health applications that have been aimed at addressing pandemic-related challenges:
The Rehabilitation Robotics Lab at the University of Alberta has created an AR app to help Canadians manage mental health during COVID-19.
Perhaps the widespread need to adapt with digital tools in lieu of regular in-person practice during this time will accelerate future development and adoption of a whole ecosystem of health-related XR applications.
We conducted two mini focus groups addressing the topics of participants’ experiences and perceptions of the use of VR in August, 2018 and March, 2019. The results from the focus groups have now been published.
We found five major thematic categories and 23 sub-categories emerged in the analysis process reflecting the participants’ narrative.
Similar to other research, we found mixed results in the use of adjunctive VR therapy to manage chronic cancer pain, although a majority of respondents found it to be beneficial.
Our results confirm that pain management is a highly complex and individualized process. For maximum efficacy, it is recommended that future designs of VR interventions engage pain patients in the design process to ensure maximum efficacy of experiences to with individuals’ preferences.
Dr. Bernie Garrett, Dr. Diane Gromala, and Dr. Tarnia Taverner from the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University sit down to talk about their research using virtual reality for chronic pain therapy.
Back in November, 2017, Dr. Bernie Garrett gave a presentation at the Uniquely UBC: Good for You Games event. Participants were also able to test out the VR environments the research team has prepared for the event.
Tech giant Apple has announced that it will be supporting external graphics hardware in the next version of MacOS. Not only so, Apple is launching ARkit, a tool to help third party developers to develop AR apps for the iOS.
Welcome to the augmented and virtual reality health applications website. This site is designed to support and disseminate the research and development of health applications using these technologies at UBC. There are a number of projects at the university exploring the potential for these new technologies here, and we welcome contributions and membership by researchers or those with an interest in the field.