Dr. Edward Kim, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Interactive Multimedia at TCNJ, earned 1st prize in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Games to Generate Data Challenge.” Winners were announced at the 7th annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference in Santa Clara, CA, and the 1st Prize came with a $100,000 award.
Developed in collaboration with Dr. James Park from Rutgers–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Kim’s game wHealth: a Window to your future Health is designed “to predict the future health of a user or avatar by their reported use of exercise, patient history, and health questions.” The game is an interactive storytelling application designed to improve the health of the application users and collect interesting health decision data.
Professor Kim worked with two Interactive Multimedia students, Eliza Donne and Jared Krinsky, on the project.
The “Games to Generate Data Challenge” consisted of two phases. First, teams were asked to describe the application they would design for the challenge. The top five finalists each received $5,000 and were then allowed to move on to the second phase, where they were asked to create a working game application that built upon what was proposed in the first phase. Evaluation criteria included creativity and innovation, design characteristics that clearly drive engagement and experience, and design, usability and intuitiveness of application, among others.
wHealth was designed with two imperative questions in mind: how could the use of the application improve users health, and what useful health data is needed to make this application successful. Through exploration of those questions, Professor Kim and his team looked to engage the players through interactive storytelling while transferring knowledge and behaviors to the users. By making health scenarios more relatable to the player, and by showing immediate health consequences of unhealthy actions, the behavior is hoped to be deterred in real life and encourages the user to seek medical care if necessary.
The County Health Rankings for every county in the United States are accessible by wHealth. A user simply inputs their county into the game, and relevant statistics based upon the location and the story will be displayed. The data collected range from gender, age, and marital status to ethnicity, employment, and education. Users found the game to be interesting, entertaining, and fun, and welcomed an innovative way to obtain information about potential medical issues.
Dr. Kim and Dr. Park also earned 2nd prize in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Hospital’s Static Visualization category of the “Price Transparency Challenge.”
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