Sophie Mobbs is an Associate Professor at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Prior to working in Higher Education, Sophie spent 10 years working as an artist and animator in the games industry for companies that included Sony, Silicon Dreams and Rebellion, contributing to 8 published games across various platforms. She now specialises in teaching 2D and 3D animation, character creation and art for computer games and virtual reality narratives. Her research interests focus on serious games and in particular the application of virtual reality games and experiences as medical treatments.
Gaming Against Depression: Using virtual reality immersive game experiences as a life-enhancing and drug-free treatment for elderly patients suffering from profound depression.
Virtual Reality games are opening up a new world of medical treatments which can be used instead of conventional drug treatments or as an augmented approach to reduce drug dosage. This paper presents ongoing research into the use of VR games to treat elderly patients suffering with depression, showcasing a new prototype Virtual Reality experience that has been created specifically for the needs and treatment of these patients. What are the considerations for treating depression with virtual reality? How might the design of a game be enhanced to provide healing and uplifting treatment? What can be learned from this research to help in the design and creation of other virtual reality experiences to treat mental health issues in both young and old?
This is a collaborative research project between the Innlandet Hospital and the Inland Norway University, funded by the Research Council of Norway. This presentation highlights the research and feedback from patients that went into designing this bespoke experience, and showcases the ongoing feedback and research from early testing.
Gaming to Understand: How games might help carers support loved ones in palliative care.
For carers, particularly untrained carers tending family members, it can prove difficult to interpret the needs of those they are tending. Patients may lose the ability to speak, to gesture, or may even be unable to communicate by blinking.
This paper explores the author’s research into subtle and restricted non-verbal communication, and her own experience in applying this research to caring for a terminally ill relative. For those caring for loved ones, finding time to learn to interpret tiny facial expressions and small changes in body posture in order to respond to pain or anxiety in their relatives may not be an option, but drawing upon creative practice research methodology combined with the author’s experience working within the games industry, this paper presents research into analysing non-verbal communication, and discusses ways in which this research might be applied and rendered into very short, simple, and easily accessible games or apps designed to help carers quickly learn to decipher subtle non-verbal cues.