People who suffer from ADHD often have a hard time concentrating on things and become easily distracted. But can a new gaming technology help them learn to control this?
In Issue 183 of The Escapist, Joel Gonzales, diagnosed with ADHD himself, describes a new kind of controller: one that is helping ADHD patients gain control of their own attention spans. SmartBrain Technologies have designed a modified controller that measures a patient's brainwaves which requires the patient to control their concentration in order to play a regular videogame:
The unit decides how well the patient's brainwaves match up to a specified profile and adjusts the sensitivity of the controller accordingly - the more closely the patient can match the profile, the more responsive the game becomes to the patient's input. The controller sensitivity is not handled like an on/off switch; it's more like dimmer, able to provide a wide range of feedback.The SMART system works with any game released for the PlayStation 2 or Xbox, but it's most effective with games that provide constant movement. The best genres are platforming and racing, as it's easy to feel when the controller is losing its responsiveness. After patients complete the training, they can still use ADHD medication but it will likely not be necessary.
Children using this system showed significant improvement in their concentration levels at home and at work. Read more about the SMART system and other neurofeedback research in Gaming The Brain. How else could videogames be used to live a healthy lifestyle?