Colleges Play Games

At an ever increasing pace, college curriculums are starting to pick up on “serious gaming” and the implications that games and game-like interfaces are having on just about everything and are creating classes and experiences that reflect the value of video games to learning and education.

Here are some quotes from an article in this weekend’s Philadelphia Inquirer. I saw the article in the newspaper since long weekends are a chance to unwind and relax with good old fashion paper news but also, an alert blog reader, Jaff, sent me the electronic link to the article as well. So a shout out to Jaff! Thanks!

Here is the article Colleges see the future: Video games and here are some highlights.

More than 200 colleges and technical schools have a gaming-related study program of some sort, according to the Entertainment Software Association. Drexel, La Salle, and the University of the Arts all have them. At the University of Pennsylvania, you can even get a doctorate in a related field: the modeling and animation of human movement…

[in one game called Lazybrains] Aplayer assumes the role of Morby, a boy who has been transported to a dangerous fantasy world as punishment for lying on the couch all day and watching TV.

To escape, Morby has to battle various imaginary creatures and solve puzzles. While some involve using an old-fashioned computer keyboard, others simply require the player to concentrate really hard.

The device strapped to the player’s forehead monitors brain activity – literally, the amount of oxygen coursing through his prefrontal cortex – by shining near-infrared light through his skull and measuring changes in the light’s intensity.

It was developed by Drexel’s biomedical engineers to monitor the brains of patients who are under anesthesia, but they were happy to lend it to their game-designing colleagues for a more light-hearted purpose. Ayaz, a Ph.D. biomed candidate, said he “lifted” the manhole cover in the game by imagining that he was pushing up a bar on the screen that measured his brain activity.

[And jobs?, yes, according to the article.] Indeed, jobs are available.
After designing a virtual theme-park ride that took people back to feudal Japan, one Drexel grad student was hired last year by Disney.
Stephen Lane, director of the master’s program at Penn, said his students have gone to work for game-makers Electronic Arts and Activision, as well as the DreamWorks movie studio.

I’ve written before about controllers that use brain waves to manipulate objects on screen at Interface be Gone!

Also, check out video from Emotiv describing how their brain reading headset works.


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Karl Kapp
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