Digital studio UsTwo, well known for their gorgeous puzzle game Monument Valley, recently launched an augmented reality game app for pediatric patients at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. Before hospitalization, they download and personalize the game, Alder Play. Then, as they make their way to different areas of the hospital,kids can go on augmented reality scavenger hunts, unlock dancing characters, and receive stickers for achievements like having a dressing changed or being scanned.”
Alder Hey Consultant Nik Barnes, who originated the idea of Alder Play, explained: “Our vision is to transform the experience of children in hospital. We wanted to distract patients during procedures, and reduce their worries and fears. Rewarding children following procedures and treatments was another vital element as it helps to encourage their progress. Rewards can be given for something as simple as having a dressing changed, to getting out of bed after an operation or having a scan.”
Designers spend time at the hospital to understand the culture and the architecture, so the app feels like a natural and bespoke part of the patient experience. Even the avatars were based on cartoon characters who appear in the hospital’s environment. In addition to the gamification aspect of play, the app also uses IBM’s Watson technology so that parents and kids can ask common questions and get real-time answers. The game is supported by NHS England and NHS Digital.