The School of Engineering and Digital Arts at University of Kent and its industrial collaborator, Silverfit (http://silverfit.nl/) hosted a jointly-organised workshop on “Games for Health” to explore how computer games can be used to support older people with dementia.
In recent years, we have witnessed unprecedented advances in computer game technologies; these include photo realistic 3D graphics, low cost facial and gesture recognition devices, and myriad bio-sensors. They offer tremendous opportunities to transform health and social care provision. For instance, using motion sensors, we are able to track people’s body movement, and provide visual feedback in form of interactive games to support physical rehabilitation. This kind of game solution not only reduces the workload of therapists, but also sustain patient’s long term motivation, which is a crucial factor in rehabilitation. Most importantly, these sensing technologies support “natural user interfaces”, removing technological barrier for older users, motivating them to engage with digital technologies.
The workshop held in October 2012 attracted participants from a wide range of areas, including occupational therapy, ageing research, dementia care, technology companies, NHS, Kent County Council and care home providers.
James Porreca from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust described the event as “an interesting and informative discussion on potential uses for technology to assist in health care”
The School and Silverfit are currently collaborating on a project funded by EPSRC (led by Dr Jim Ang) in the use of 3D virtual world for health ageing.