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Surface-Based Biofeedback for Health

This is a completed project.

Biofeedback games help users maintain specific mental or physical states; however they are expensive and difficult to create, are not sufficiently appealing to hold a user’s interest over the long term, and do not give users choice in what state they wish to train. We present a system that turns off-the-shelf computer games into biofeedback games. Our approach uses texture-based graphical overlays that vary in their obfuscation of underlying display elements based on the sensed physiological state of the user. The textures can be visually customized so that they appear to be integrated with the underlying game. In addition, we give users the choice over what aspect of their physiology they wish to train.

Our system is part of a long-term study (24 weeks) on biofeedback games to help kids with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder learn to self-regulate their brain function. We chose to evaluate the system with children with FASD, as fetal alcohol exposure is the single most prevalent cause of intellectual impairment in the western world. In our study, we show that our solution can hold a user’s interest over a long term, and balances the competing needs of maintaining the fun of playing, while providing effective biofeedback training. Preliminary results of pre-and post-measures are encouraging and we are extending the field trials of our system to kids with other developmental disorders (e.g., ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder)) and adults with stress-management issues.


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NeuroDevNet – NSERC – SurfNet