Nonprofit social enterprise CIPO and the UAB and Canadian disability benefits organization have created a video game to enhance the cognitive and motor abilities of people with intellectual disabilities and mental disorders. The game, called CIPO Activity, allows you to play using only the movement of the body and has been developed with the support of the programme of aid for social initiatives of the Social work projects, “la Caixa”.
“Three years ago we started to use information and communication technologies in the activities that we organize with our users and we realized account that there was a void in the market of educational and entertaining content for our group.” Thus arose the idea of creating a new product, that is specifically adapted to it,”explains Xavier Martinez Biosca, director of CIPO.
The result is CIPOActivity, a video game to promote physical and emotional well-being of people with different degrees of intellectual disability and mental disorders, and of different ages, developed by researchers of KAYAKING – Center of accessibility and environmental intelligence of the UAB, in collaboration with experts from psychology of CIPO. The project has received the support of the call for “promotion of autonomy and the attention to disability and dependence, the program of aid to projects of social initiatives of the Obra Social”la Caixa”.
The game meets the therapeutic requirements set by specialists and has both educational and recreational components of any serious game. “Technically, we have marked a pace somewhat slower in the unfolding of events, so that stimuli are not so fast and the player can react more easily. We have kept in mind that the instructions were simple and understandable and we have adjusted the threshold of detection of movement to the greatest possible sensitivity; Thus, the system scored small intentional gestures that do not have a conventional game”, says Enric Martí, researcher of the kayak that has coordinated the project.
Aerobic choreography to relaxation exercises
CIPOActivity uses the Kinect device, allowing the user to play only with the movement of the body, and includes four games: music, colors, relaxation and “the forest of the games”, which includes four mini-games. The player has to overcome different tests against a TV screen, a computer and the Kinect device, a virtual instructor-guided in some of the activities. For the design and animation of the characters has been used a program design and 3D modeling and the music has been composed specifically for the game. The game allows you to play in catalan, Spanish or English.
“All the games have a physical component, but at the same time we wanted to work various skills to stimulate cognitive functions and other areas,” says Aurora Piguillem, psychologist at CIPO which has participated in the design of the game.
Proposals range from the learning and development of aerobic choreographies and gymnastic exercises to practice relaxation, and working different skills cognitive and motor, as attention and concentration, balance, memory, coordination, flexibility, breathing, visualization or sensory stimulation.
“The results and scores are never desmotivadores and always encourage the player to continue or try again. In addition, we have a record of each player scores, for target tracking of their evolution”, adds Aurora Piguillem.
A prototype of the game is already being used in installations of CIPO, with very good acceptance by the users. In the near future, CIPO wants to broadcast, so that other centers and individuals can use it. “We think already in the possibility of expanding levels and scenarios or develop other projects within the field serious games, since there is still a repertoire,” concludes Xavier Martinez Biosca.
The development of the video game had also with the participation of the Kaneda Games company. In total have worked fifteen researchers, designers and psychologists.