Mind-Body Games


IAT 402/403 Project Description

TITLE: Mind-Body Games: Using Bio-Computer to teach Children Mind-Body Awareness

CLIENT: Drs. Alissa Antle (SIAT), Diane Gromala (SIAT)

CONTACT: aantle@sfu.ca

OVERVIEW:  This project is one part of the SSHRC funded research project investigating new methods of evaluated embodied forms of interaction with interactive technologies. The objective of the IAT 402/403 portion of the project is to design and implement one or more multiplayer bio-sensing-based games for older children (ages 8-13) using an existing immersive dome tent environment (see figure 1) and commercially available physiological and/or brain sensing technologies.

Figure 1. Immersive Dome Tent Environment for Bio-Computing Games

RESEARCH PROJECT GOALS: New forms of bio-computer games utilize information about player’s neurology (e.g., brain waves) or physiology (e.g., heart rate, galvanic skin response) as system input by using simple biofeedback technologies. These new forms of interactive technologies utilize mind-body-based or embodied interaction. Little is known about how to design and evaluate the impact of these new forms of mind-body-based interactive technologies and the resulting human computer interactions. The goal of the larger research project is to focus on the development and testing of a set of evaluation methods which can be used to evaluate children’s experiences with new forms of bio-computing interactive technologies. This requires to design and development of one or more biofeedback games that can be used to study different user evaluation methods.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The focus of this project is to design and implement a robust, functional biofeedback (brain and/or body) immersive game which supports the learning and awareness of the connection between the mind, body and emotions in 8 to 13 year old children (and others). We have already developed two prototype games: one in which the player controls their heart rate to control a net for catching butterflies and a second where heart rate is used to control a physical pinwheel.
User experience goals include developing the ability to focus or relax the mind-body on demand; develop a conscious awareness of their body and mental states; develop an awareness of their ability to use their mind to change their mental and body states; and develop an empathetic awareness of the other player’s mental and body states. The prototype will be used to investigate the effective of several evaluation methods (e.g., cued recall interview) for assessing user’s experiences with this type of immersive, bio-computing environment. The project will use existing biofeedback technologies with software development kits (SDKs) (e.g., Wild Divine, Neurosky).

For an example a body-based biofeedback game see:

For an example of a mind-sensing technology see:

DELIVERABLES: The main focus of the project is a working prototype that can be used in pilot studies with adults and children in the late spring and early summer of 2009. Deliverables will include: weekly or bi-weekly meeting status reports, design requirements document, game specification document, concept design, design mock-ups, initial and final versions of prototype and well as final prototype and code documentation.

SKILLS REQUIRED: A well rounded team with members from media arts, design and programming is required for this project. See key roles required:

  • Project management (e.g., scheduling, documentation, resource allocation)
  • Multimedia design (e.g., design and coding of curved visual display content and sounds)
  • Computer game design (e.g., design of game(s))
  • Programming (Java, C, Macromedia Director can be used with the Wild Divine Lightstone API; other programming language TDB based on ongoing negotiations with NeuroSky.)
  • Quality assurance (iterative user-centred design including formative user testing)

D. Bersak et al. Intelligent biofeedback using an immersive competitive environment http://mindgames-group.org/publications/publicationsAtlanta2001rev3.pdf
Gelfond et al. The Play's the Thing: A Clinical-Developmental Perspective on Video Games Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 14, Issue 3, July 2005, Pages 491-508.
Leahy A, Clayman C, Mason I, et al: Computerized biofeedback games: a new method for teaching stress management and its use in irritable bowel syndrome. J R Coll Physicians Lond 1998; 32:552-556[Medline]
Video games help hyperactive children http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/894673.stm
Kid Confidence Article http://kidconfidence.com/blogs/2008/03/18/biofeedback-and-meditation-meets-computer-game

For more information, contact Alissa Antle aantle@sfu.ca