Serious games for dementia

SERIOUS GAMES TO TREAT DEMENTIA IN FOREST SENSORY THERAPY PROJECT

Alzheimer's Australia Vic partners with Opaque Multimedia to create Unreal Engine 4 based therapeutic tools for people living with dementia

Opaque Multimedia and Alzheimer's Australia Vic have partnered to create a new tool in the fight against dementia. The Forest Project (working title) is a sensory therapy application designed to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia through the use of video game technology.

Sensory therapy is a form of therapy that engages the senses in different ways to prevent boredom and stagnation. Its aim is to be a relaxing activity, designed to create feelings of safety, novelty and stimulation which are under the user's control. People with dementia lose control of their lives, and feel a combination of threat from the way their interactions with the world are hampered, and lethargy from the monotony of their environments.

The Forest Project will record many firsts: one of the first serious game titles to use Unreal Engine 4, the first application of its kind in Australia, one of the first attempts to treat dementia using game technology, and both one of the first sensory therapy applications using game technology and the first to be tailored specifically to the needs of people with dementia and their carers.

The Forest Project utilises Microsoft's Kinect 2 technology to turn a living room or a lounge in a care centre into an enchanted space that both viscerally stimulates the senses and engages through interactivity. Users are able to influence various parameters of the hyper-realistic environments through gestures, including weather, time and wildlife that organically roam through the experience.

The Forest Project is being developed by Opaque Multimedia on behalf of Alzheimer's Australia Vic, and will be distributed through Alzheimer's Australia to aged and dementia care facilities in Australia, and similar facilities throughout the world. The Forest Project will also be available for home use for homes with a person with dementia or similar conditions.

Dementia is the third leading cause of death in Australia, with one person diagnosed every six minutes. There is no cure, and dementia will become the third greatest source of health and residential aged care spending within two decades.

In the UK, dementia affects nearly 1 million people. In the US the number of people with dementia is more than 5 million. New research suggests that the actual number of people with dementia in these countries an Australia may be as much as 6 times higher, as cases will often go undiagnosed, and the role of dementia in the cause of death is rarely obvious.

ABOUT OPAQUE MULTIMEDIA

Opaque Multimedia is a Melbourne-based digital design studio specialising in the application of video game technologies in novel domains. Founded by a group of PhD students, the combination of industry experience, technical skill and academic research naturally aligns Opaque Multimedia for innovative, cutting-edge projects that demand a high level of technical expertise.

Opaque Multimedia is working with Alzheimer's Australia Vic to create serious games for awareness raising, training and treatment of dementia. Their first project together, The Virtual Dementia Experience, is an immersive simulation built on UDK allowing individuals to experience first-hand what it might be like to have dementia, and was launched in 2013.

ABOUT ALZHEIMER'S AUSTRALIA VIC

Alzheimer's Australia Vic advocates for the needs of people living with dementia, and their families and carers. As the peak body and charity for all types of dementia, it provides advocacy, support services, education and information.

Alzheimer's Australia Vic administers leading-edge national dementia programs and services funded by the Commonwealth as well as providing national policy and advocacy for the more than 320,000 Australians living with dementia.

For more information please visit:

www.fightdementia.org.au

MEDIA CONTACTS

For all Opaque Multimedia enquiries, please contact:
Norman Wang, Art Lead
norman@opaquemultimedia.com
Australian Calls: +61 433 201 854 United States and International Calls: +1 415 992 7405

For all Alzheimer's Australia Victoria enquiries, please contact:
Christine Bolt, General Manager, Communications
christine.bolt@alzheimers.org.au
0400 004 553







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