Serious games experts play key role in major healthcare project

Research news / Business news

Tuesday 23 June 2015

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Experts in Coventry University's Serious Games Institute (SGI) are playing a leading role in an €887k European project exploring how small and medium enterprises can develop effective serious games for the healthcare industry.

The PERGAMON project forms part of the European Union's €80 billion Horizon 2020 initiative – the organisation's largest ever research and innovation programme which aims to take world-leading ideas to market to boost economic growth in Europe.

Coventry's SGI is collaborating with a number of partners – including healthcare professionals – to develop a technology framework to help the burgeoning serious games sector in the UK and Europe create software for smart devices for use by patients with chronic diseases.

The technology framework will allow real world data to be gathered and integrated into a serious game, and fed back via a 'virtual coach' which supports the patient in their daily activities by providing guidance and prompts.

A prototype game is already in the making to support under 25s in Europe with the management of their diabetes – a disease with increasing prevalence across the continent – with the data set to be evaluated by Netherlands-based hospital and project partner Ziekenhuis Gelderse Vallei.

SGI and its project partners will also be demonstrating their research and delivering workshops at the forthcoming Games for Health conference in Utrecht in November, and at the Games and Learning Alliance (GALA) conference in Rome in December.

Dr Alex Woolner, the SGI's project lead for PERGAMON, said:

Serious games and gamification represent powerful tools for many different industries, but for the healthcare sector we've seen time and time again that they can have an enormously positive effect by helping to improve the quality of life of patients and support them in daily activities.

That is ultimately what the PERGAMON project is aiming to achieve as part of the Horizon 2020 initiative. We want to help the creative industries come up with novel ideas and applications for serious games to boost innovation across many sectors, including healthcare.

 

Separate research by Coventry University's SGI and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust recently revealed that serious games played on smart devices can significantly boost knowledge and awareness amongst elderly patients who are living with a chronic disease. The research was presented at the prestigious European Renal Association and European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA) congress in London in May.

 

For further information, please contact Alex Roache, external press and media relations officer, Coventry University, on 024 7765 5050 or email alex.roache@coventry.ac.uk.

The PERGAMON project partners are Grifo Multimedia (IT), University of Twente (NL), A.i. Solve (UK), Ziekenhuis Gelderse Vallei (NL) and Coventry University (through its Serious Games Institute).