Gaming for Good – Dig Rush

On Tuesday, Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry) and Amblyotech Inc. announced their collaborative project, Dig Rush. Taking Ubisofts gameplay knowledge, Ambylotech’s electronic-media approach to treatment and patented technologies invented at McGill University, Dig Rush was designed to offer an engaging way to treat Amblyopia. More commonly known as ‘lazy eye’, this condition involves one eye being weaker than the other, resulting in decreased vision and potential blindness.

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Dig Rush is a side-scrolling platform game that encourages binocular vision and seeks to train the patient’s brain into using both eyes effectively. This is where the use of 3D glasses comes in – characters and objects in the game will appear red or blue, offering the player better perception of the occurring gameplay. Depending on the weakness of the players affected eye, the level of colour contrast in the game can be changed in order to suit individual needs.

Dig Rush is described as potentially providing a more ‘long-lasting treatment’ than those out there at the moment – training the weaker eye by wearing an eye-patch, for example, understandably may not be popular or adhered to for long periods. The significance of designing a longer-lasting and more appealing treatment shouldn’t be understated; Amblyopia affects up to 3% of children all over the world, and ineffective treatment can lead to blindness in adulthood.

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Providing a source of entertaining treatment on the grounds of video game technology is hugely positive, not only within Amblyopia therapy but also for video game purposes as a whole. Collaborations such as this, between triple-A giant Ubisoft and organisations like Amblyotech that seek to offer innovative therapies, reveal the potential of technology and the video game industry in helping to achieve good in new, inventive ways. Who said video games are bad for your health?

According to Ubisoft’s Senior Producer Mathieu Ferland, “The team from Ubisoft Montreal has been able to create a more engaging and enjoyable experience for patients being treated for Amblyopia, and we’re proud to be involved in such a positive illustration of the impact of video game technology.”

It’s definitely encouraging to see Ubisoft direct its game-designing efforts in this new direction, and it will be interesting to see if other notable developers follow suit.

Providing Amblyotech can gain clearance to market this therapy, Dig Rush will be an app available on prescription for Amblyopia patients to use on computers, tablets and smartphones, providing an easily accessible and mobile treatment – one free of social stigma.

To learn more about how Dig Rush works, head over to Amblyotech’s website.

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