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Neurology and Neurosurgery

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ALS and Spinal Injury Palliative Care

The mission of this software and hardware is to provide patients suffering from limb paralysis (caused by ailments such as ALS or spinal cord injury), but who still possess residual movements (ocular, finger), with games that map their movement onto a world of rich motor dynamics and physics. Ideally, we wish to project a patient’s residual movement into the fully dynamic movement space of a creature or vehicle. This is intended to give them back the visceral and pleasurable feeling of acceleration, velocity, and skilled movement. The games will be designed and customized to the specific disease-related constraints of the patient. That is to say, meaningful and fun experiences should be achieved with the patient’s own motor input but leaving out uncoupled extraneous input (e.g. buttons) common to most games.

An important component in this project is multiplayer gaming. Each experience will have a “consumer” parallel which can be deployed at home, on mobile devices, or on a custom-built table accessible in a library or school. In this way, we will encourage community-based interactions between gamers and patients to improve quality of life.

Game design will require that the team be provided with physician-supervised clinical observation of the anticipated spectrum of motor-impaired patients. We predict an 8-10 month development timeline, from the time of initial patient observation. This will lead to 2 fully completed games (both clinical and public versions), likely integrated with augmented and/or virtual reality.