Lift-Off! wins Best of Show Academic – Student at the 3rd Annual Serious Games and Virtual Environments Showcase!
Katelyn Procci | January 29, 2013
The 3rd Annual Serious Games and Virtual Environments Showcase was held this past Monday (1/28/2013) in Orlando, Florida at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare 2013, sponsored by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. The arcade featured games from both academic labs and commercial organizations. During the awards ceremony, our prototype app for treating selective mutism won Best of Show Academic in the Student category.
The app was developed for Dr. Deborah Beidel and Brian Bunnell of the UCF Anxiety Disorders Clinic. They have had great success treating patients suffering from selective mutism by using off-the-shelf iPad apps. Essentially, the treatment protocol calls for shaping behavior over time with rewards. By using very specific apps from the App Store, children engage in these behaviors through gameplay. With the anxiety of speaking lessened by the fun, engaging experience of playing the games, they have found these apps to be valuable tools for making this therapy effective.
RETRO was approached by their team to create a prototype app that would serve as both a patient management framework as well as deliver apps designed to be fun tools for therapy. Imagine a situation in which you are a clinical psychologist working at a general clinic that does not specialize in anxiety disorders. If your patient is suffering from selective mutism, you may be at a loss as how to treat them. This app, paired with a descriptive treatment protocol, would help walk the clinician through treatment by providing fun apps that can be used as a part of therapy as well as tools to track their patient’s progress through time.
At this point, this app is just a prototype that we are using for demonstration purposes. Although populated with fake patients and fake data, we did develop one game as an example. Lift-Off! is a game that takes one tool used in classic treatment, the use of a tape recorder to get patients comfortable with playing their recorded voices for others, and turned it into a game where the player must record their voice and play it louder and louder in order to inflate a hot air balloon.
I would like to thank everyone from Dr. Beidel’s team, including both Brian Bunnell who came up with the treatment protocol as well as Nina Wong. From the RETRO development team, I would like to thank our programmers Greg Pardo, who came up with the idea for the game, and Jenny Vogel. A special thanks goes out to our wonderful artist, Danielle Chelles, who not only did a great job with the art for the entire app, but she also provided the voice for Lift-Off!‘s main character. Thanks to our RETRO usability team, including Shan Lakhmani and Arun George. And, of course, thank you to both Clint and Jan, our lab’s founders, for giving the opportunity to us students to do awesome things like this.