Complex Motor Input
Our experiences are specifically designed to avoid task specificity which often limits muscles and motor control to a very narrow subset of possible movements, and only engages a habitual activation in the brain. We promote full 3D, complex, motor movement input used to learn novel tasks: swimming like a dolphin, hunting as an orca or shark, or a multitude of other customized experiences. Human limbs have an enormous array of possible positions, configurations, and movement trajectories. This full spectrum is rarely addressed in traditional physical and occupational therapy and exercise. Simply reaching for an object, for example, exercises only a tiny part of the spectrum for arm movement. Our experiences encourage multiple, diverse movements, across the full spectrum which far better exercises the full capacity of an individual in real life. We often build customized hardware, to extract signal from users who would otherwise be unable to exercise residual movement with useful feedback to improve. Most importantly, our experiences encourage new movements unfamiliar to the user, which promote cognitive-motor exploration and engagement.
Scientists now know that exploring new and diverse physics helps learning. Researchers at Johns Hopkins showed in a study, published in the Journal Science, that when an infant observes a scenario with surprising physics, it's helps them learn. That is, exploring new and unfamiliar dynamics enhances learning.
We create experiences that require movements to control the physics of an animal completely different from a human. A player encounters new and unexpected physics by learning how to move creatures built from our proprietary physics-animation simulation technology. Our virtual creatures were born from thousands of hours of study of actual animals, and then integrating that knowledge with physical simulations containing bones, muscles, and control systems users can manipulate with their own input. The result is a deeply visceral experience, the only one of its kind in the world, designed to address cognition through new, exploratory, movement and its associated physics.
Visual Spatial Movement
Although traditional action games are designed so that one must cognitively work out the complex 3D visual-spatial position and navigation of characters in an environment, the movement required to control the experiences is very limited. That is, games are designed to involve the least amount of actual 3D movement of one’s limbs, to navigate a character through a virtual 3D world. Micro mouse movements and simple directional changes of the derivative of a direction allow for complete navigation. Control systems in modern commercial games evolved this way to minimize the difficulty of player input. Our competitors, and most other scientists in this field, utilize commercial gaming engines and established design methodologies, which has the unfortunate effect of preserving this trend, and subsequently minimizes cognitive-motor engagement.
Kata has developed a proprietary medical gaming-engine, from the ground up, specifically tuned for complex and diverse control input. That is, our users make actual 3D movements in the real world, where the directions they defineare then directly used to control characters in a 3D virtual world. Our experiences are designed to maximize this movement for visual spatial learning that is not just cognitive, but motor cognitive.
Compelling and Engaging Experiences
Unlike any other group designing rehabilitation experiences, we take our software and gaming design very seriously. In fact, our experiences have received numerous awards in the gaming industry, where we test the playability rigorously before refining into rehabilitative experiences. In 2014, aigamedev, the world’s leading organization for artificial intelligence in gaming, nominated one of our experiences for “best new Ai innovation” in a game for its annual awards. It came in second place to “Destiny”, a game whose budget was 200 million dollars. Our experiences have been featured in the New Yorker, Time magazine, and National Geographic.
We believe that one of the best ways to foster adherence is to make the experiences fun, deeply engaging, compelling, and with significant replay value. In this regard, our experiences are crafted with the same rigors found in the commercial gaming industry. However, they are designed with our audience in mind. We make the experiences elegant, and tasteful - often bringing patients to tears the first time they encounter Bandit the dolphin with his message to heal them. Stories and themes are designed to psychologically promote the healing process, providing motivation, with music, dialogue, and themes.