creativity · play · Social · writing

A Videogame That Teaches You to Write Poetry, Even if It Intimidates You | WIRED

I don’t know if I would find this inspiring or not… thoughts?

Videogames and poetry haven’t always gone hand in hand.

We’re still a long way from Master Chief breaking into a Coleridge soliloquy. But game developers Ichiro Lambe and Ziba Scott have edged us a bit closer to that day with Elegy for a Dead World, a game they Kickstarted in October and released on Steam last month.

Elegy lets players write prose and poetry as they explore distant planets and dead civilizations. The player faces 27 challenges in three worlds, each riffing on a specific British Romance-era poem: “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” by John Keats, and “Darkness” by Lord Byron.

The different challenges find the player in various roles: an emperor rallying his troops before a doomed battle, for example, or a schoolgirl evacuating a city being bombed. Players travel through beautifully designed backgrounds, while on-screen text narrates the story. But much of the text is left blank—that’s when players tap their inner Wordsworths, finishing the tale with their own imaginations.

Throughout their adventure, players are tasked with using several writing styles: Plugging in blanks in prompts like serious Mad Libs, writing poems in rhyming couplets, or going totally freeform.

via A Videogame That Teaches You to Write Poetry, Even if It Intimidates You | WIRED.

behavior · happiness · health · mental health

Playing with the piggies

Pigs are incredibly intelligent creatures that need enrichment and play just like we do. This is a great story about providing enriching environments and play to livestock, similar to what Temple Grandin advocates here in the U.S.

“[R]esearchers at Wageningen University [in the Netherlands], in the course of their research on ethical livestock farming, noticed that pigs like to play with dancing lights…European regulations currently require that pig farmers provide mentally-stimulating activity for their pigs in order to reduce boredom…” (via mother jones)

The coolest part is, HUMANS would get to interact and play with pigs:

“As a farmer, you’d get to play video games with your hogs, and the gameplay might actually have the added benefit of making the animal’s life happier and healthier.

The system includes a giant screen that broadcasts a swirl of glittering colors and lights next to the pigpen. The human participant controls the wall-sized screen remotely with an iPad, and the pigs react by touching and following the light designs with their snouts. Clement notes that researchers hope that this will all “open up new questions in debates about animal farming and welfare in the digital age…”  (via mother jones)

Check out the video:

The Playing with Pigs project is researching the complex relationship we have with domesticated pigs by designing a game. Designing new forms of human-pig interaction can create the opportunity for consumers and pigs to forge new relations as well as to experience the cognitive capabilities of each other. The game is called Pig Chase.

For additional background, visit the Playing with Pigs project website: playingwithpigs.nl

Pretty cool idea to let humans and livestock interact with each other in different ways.

Uncategorized

Kinect Helping With Senior Health

Tiger Place, an independent living center in Missouri, uses technology such as Kinect to closely monitor seniors’ movement to help prevent functional decline that can lead to falls and decreased mobility. From Microsoft.

From a Microsoft press release, but still really interesting: a researcher is looking at using Kinect to track a senior citizen’s walking more regularly than the usual once or twice a year to make sure they’ve still got that pep in their step:

What if technology could help prevent falls, and in some cases even prolong lives?

Marilyn Rantz and her colleagues at the University of Missouri are researching just that, using Microsoft’s Kinect to measure and monitor subtle changes in the gait and movement of older people. Using technology to measure the way people walk more completely and daily, rather than at bi-yearly doctor’s appointments, can give healthcare professionals a chance to intervene sooner.

[Independent Living Center] Tiger Place focuses on monitoring its residents with a network of sensors placed in apartments, a monitoring network that now includes Kinect sensors in many rooms. What’s more, Tiger Place is an “age in place” facility, meaning seniors don’t have to move to different housing as they get older and require more assistance – the new services they need as they age are brought in to them, Rantz said.

Several apartments in Tiger Place have a Kinect mounted near the ceiling in the living room, where day after day the devices gather a mountain of data about the resident’s movement and motion.

Helping seniors is just one of a growing number of healthcare applications for Kinect.

Doctors are also using Kinect to help stroke patients regain movement. Surgeons are using it to access information without leaving the operating room and in the process sacrificing sterility. Healthcare workers are even using it to help with physical therapy and children with developmental disabilities or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Thus, the genesis of the so-called “Kinect Effect” – a term coined in the hallways and conference rooms of Microsoft to describe the device’s increasingly widespread appeal and diversity of uses.

Read the entire release at Kinect Effect Reaches Into Hospitals, Senior Centers.

I’m a huge fan of Kinect hacks, especially when a Kinect is modified to help people move better in their homes and everyday surroundings. It is relatively cheap compared to a lot of other medical equipment, and the hack is often fun to use as well as being practical.

behavior · brain · disease · health · learning · Mental · neuroscience · technology

Sensor Glove Could Help Stroke Patients Recover Mobility Through Gaming | Ecouterre

The brain is such an amazing thing, and has such amazing capabilities to recover, it just needs the right tool; in this case, using video games as a type of mental and physical therapy for stroke victims. Using computer games is also useful because it is more engaging for the brain, rather than traditional physical exercises like “pick up the cup” since framing it as a game often makes it seem less consequential for players (this is a new exercise whereas they used to know how to pick up a cup) and therefore less pressure and more fun:

Four mechanical-engineering students at McGill University in Canada have developed an inexpensive sensor glove that allows patients to exercise in a game-like fashion at home with minimal supervision. Self-therapy? Well, yes and no. Using the accompanying software, doctors will be able to monitor their charges’ progress off-site, cutting down on hospital visits and costs.

The added benefit of remote monitoring for doctors is also good for the patient, as the doctor can respond right away if they see something wrong or can provide immediate feedback, rather than having to schedule an appointment, travel to the doctor’s office, and have all of your questions answered, all of this being extra hard after you’ve had a stroke and need others to help transport you.

Check out the original story at  Sensor Glove Could Help Stroke Patients Recover Mobility Through Gaming | Ecouterre.