Can Computer Games Be Good For Your Health?

Rhonda Shrader, published originally on Essinova Blog, October 18th, 2011


Playing Farmville won’t make you fit.

However, serious injuries can benefit from serious games.

Not convinced? Check out two exhibits at San Francisco’s Swissnex, Think Art – Act Science (through 11/12) and Swiss Game Design Exhibition (through 10/27).

Both exhibits showcase technologies and collaborations between Swiss companies and academic institutions. Companion events are free to the public and include stimulating topics such as Next Level Health: How Games Improve Health and Healthcare.

My favorite demo was for a game created at the Zurich University of the Arts called GABARELLO v1.0.

The game is designed for children who have experienced lower body motor loss, through birth defects, accidents, etc. Children (or adults) are strapped to a special rehabilitation robot on a treadmill and through the use of sophisticated sensors, make the adorable virtual robot “move” across the various surfaces of a planet. This turns rehab work into a treat!

Other partners in the collaboration include University Children’s Hospital Zurich, the Institute for Neuropsychology (University of Zurich) and the Sensory Motor Systems Lab (ETH Zurich).

Successful collaborations like these are a roadmap for what is possible. With the ubiquity of platforms such as X-Box and Wii, look for this exciting trend to continue.

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