Learning with fun

Children worldwide use mobile technology faster than the previous generation. Mobile phones have become the main tool for communication (75% of children aged 12-17 in the US own a cell phone, 99% of boys and 94% of girls are playing games). Games are so popular due to affordability and ubiquity of modern equipment, simple user interface, attractive graphics, sounds, music and the ability to enjoy education at their own pace through a "role-playing" games and simulations. Computer education is a very effective tool for knowledge transfer and development of skills for patients.

Games for children with T1D

Gamification is growing trend in marketing and business world. Game mechanics make education entertaining, engaging and motivating. Schools began using Gamification for the improvement of teaching. Gamification has also found use in the health sector. There are about 20 educational games designed for diabetics. Most of them are not available, some of them are only for old gaming consoles, others could be downloaded only in some countries and others have not never released to public. To mention few concepts, Carb Counting with Lenny, Shredding Diabetes ,The diabetic dog game, Ketones Attack, Diabetes and Dash, and Compensator. At all these games the only thing that player learns is that insulin lowers a blood glucose and food increases an insulin.

The concept of the game

Goal of the MyDiabetic game is to help children understand their disease and provide them with an entertaining form the knowledge necessary for correct compensation. When designing the game ,we apply the best game principles of successful games like Pou, Moy, My Talking Tom, My Talking Angela, The Sims or old Tamagotchi concept. All these games are based on the fact that the player takes care of a virtual pet / character. Games of this type have become a great success, for example game My Talking Tom has been downloaded more than 100 milion times on Google Play.

The main character of this game is a kid suffering from type one diabetes. As in above mentioned games, also in this game a player has to take care of the kid. The main aim is to teach kids basic habbits as daily blood glucose meassurements and determining the daily amount of insulin, which is connected to the estimation of food weight and the number of carb units. The game should serve as a simulator, which will help the kids to understand what is happening to their bodies when they get into a state of hypo / hyperglycemia. At the beginning of the game kids will learn the very first symptoms of diabetes and the main character gets hospitalized. After that kids will be able to observe a relation between insulin, food and physical activity and thanks to a simple simulator they will understand more the interaction of glucose and insulin.

Playing the game

The day of the character is divided into six parts, corresponding to six dishes, exactly as in the real world of diabetics. The player must meassure a character's blood glucose, insulin and also feed it, for what he is rewared by virtual coins which enable him to improve a character look, buy a new furniture, food etc. When the player is not taking care of a character properly, it is reflected by signs of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia and due to this, character does not want to do anything. Hypo/hypoglycemia can be recognized either by meassuring of blood glucose by a virtual glucose meter or also by observing the typical symptoms which a character embodies.

The game educates children in all areas, including the technical skills of blood glucose measurements, insulin administration and explanation of the nature of the disease. The game could be offered to newly diagnosed children as another source of knowledge in addition to books and booklets. The virtual character could become a friend for children. If the game is sucesfull among nondiabetics, then it could raise awareness about the disease, highlight the first symptoms of the disease and to help parents and children diagnose faster diabetes.

  1. Diploma thesis about the game (in czech)  Veronika Černohorská  - This work deals with the concept and the implementation of a serious game for children with type 1 diabetes. It includes an analysis of the current state of the art in educational materials for diabetic children. Further, the work describes game development from the phase of the earliest design of the concept, the creation of graphical components of the game and the animation to implementation in Unity3D. At the end of this work, game testing with children and their parents is described. Tests were performed on touch devices with the OS Android. More
  2. Diploma thesis Dušan Jenčík (in czech) - The aim of this thesis is the application of game principles onto educational game MyDiabetic which are feasible to achieve higher adherence of players, mainly from the point of motivation for a long term playing and education about type I diabetes. In this thesis there are implemented game mechanisms which enable several principles as let a player to personalize with a game character (as a player's friend), explanation of the game aims and the motivation of a player using tasks which provide a possibility to advance to new levels, leading to unlocking new objects. The game has been qualitatively tested with 7 children suffering from type I diabetes at the age of 5 to 15 over the period of one week. The results of testing indicated a significant increase in knowledge of participants about diabetes. The other outcome of the testing was an increase of willingness for long term playing. More
  3. Bachelor thesis about the game (in czech)  Jana Kejvalová - This work deals with the issue of designing and creating an educational game for children with diabetes. Game is realized as a mobile application using Unity3D environment. This work describes development of game core and its application interface, game scene for insulin application and scenes for purchasing food and its consumation. The game was tested according to defined scenario on five children witch diabetes and five children without diabetes. Testing results were projected into final solution and they proved that the game fulfills given requirements More
  4. Bachelor thesis Natálie Zubková (in english) - This bachelor thesis deals with the development of educational game for children suffering from type one diabetes. The aim of this thesis is to help these children with education about their disease but also to enrich the game by tools for children who are not suffering from type one diabetes but who would like to learn about this disease. This thesis describes available tools for entertaining education, the concept and implementation of new educational tools of the game using the development platform Unity3D and model of blood glucose concentration, which is part of daily life of diabetic. The very last part deals with testing on diabetic children of the first type diabetes and comparison of their knowledge before and after the game. More
  5. Diploma thesis Lukáš Rubeš (in english) - This work deals with the creation of a finite automaton of a tutorial for a serious video game. The tutorial helps to understand the main actions connected with diabetes mellitus I. It teaches players what is the correct order of the actions and what should be done in a course of a day. Another finite automaton is created to understand the concept be-hind doing sports. A minigame Balloon is added to the serious video game to entertain players and increase its playability. In the end, a qualitative research is conducted in order to examine an acquisition of the game. The game emphasises added value in knowledge about type I diabetes. More



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