“The Attention Arcade” From BrainLeap Aims to Improve Attention Skills
I think we all know parents trying to deal with the attention issues their children have. BrainLeap Technologies has launched a gaming platform called The Attention Arcade. The latest research-backed offering aims to strengthen focus and attention skills.
According to the press release, The Attention Arcade allows kids to interact “with a series of specially-created PC games that track eye movements to control the on-screen action.” The research supporting the games was funded by NIH (National Institutes of Health). The games were initially created and tested at the University of California, San Diego.
For those interested, the clinical trials included participants aged 9-25. Here’s what the press release had to share about the results:
All participants who completed the at-home training study showed improvements in at least one measure of attention and most showed improvements on multiple measures. On average, there was a 68% improvement in fast and accurate shifts of attention (Etask), a 55% improvement in inhibitory control (anti-saccade), and a 30% improvement in focus (NICHQ).
You can learn more about the science involved by visiting BrainLeap Technologies’ official website.
Research has shown that a person’s eye movement and attention are tightly linked and share much of the same brain circuitry. This game-centric offering taps into that to help kids. In simple terms, with The Attention Arcade, players use their eyes to control the games through an eye tracker. It works on how “where we look and where we are planning to look are where we are placing our attention.”
The Attention Arcade features:
- Six attention training games that each train different aspects of attention.
- Three assessments that demonstrate the skills users are developing in the games transfer to skills in the real world.
- A reporting tool that allows parents to see what games their kids are playing and for how long.
- A parent training module.
“BrainLeap’s vision is a world where attention training is the norm for improving attention and focus in kids. We created The Attention Arcade to unlock the potential of the millions of children with attention challenges – every year,” said Jeff Coleman, CEO of BrainLeap. “By making the ability to improve focus available via games, BrainLeap is bringing this cutting-edge training method to a wide audience. Children are more likely to engage with platforms that are fun and reward their efforts.”
You can purchase The Attention Arcade from BrainLeap’s official website here. The price to download and play the PC games is $39/month. To access the eye-tracker required to play the games, you can bundle the eye-tracker and games for $49/month.
The six games included with The Attention Arcade are:
- Dr. Mole & Mr. Hide – The goal of this game is to hit bandit moles as they pop out of the ground and to avoid looking at the professor moles. As the game progresses, the moles appear more quickly and from more locations. The game trains the ability to quickly and accurately orient the player’s gaze and attention to a sudden event, and to monitor a wide range of view. As the game gets harder, inhibitory control is also developed as the player avoids looking at the professor moles.
- Shroomdigger – The player searches for spotted-top mushrooms in a mystical landscape. Focusing gaze on a “shroom” causes it to shrink until it disappears with a poof. Find all the shrooms before time runs out! The game trains attention by requiring steady fixation of gaze, visual search in a crowded field, and the ability to ignore moving distractions.
- Space Race – The player uses gaze to steer a ship through a cosmic racecourse, aiming for green gates, avoiding red gates, and collecting stars for bonus points. The game trains anticipatory focus by requiring the player to gaze ahead of the current ship position. Executive functions related to planning are trained by the need to quickly decide whether collecting a star will leave enough time to avoid a red gate that causes damage to the ship.
- Kung Fall – The player trains a ninja for the Dojo’s Aerial Skills exam. Using gaze, the player guides the ninja to land and balance on a series of rock pillars while avoiding birds and ignoring falling cherry blossoms. The game trains planning, steady fixation of attention and gaze, and the ability to ignore moving distractions. This game is unlocked after 3 hours of play.
- Butterfly Bob – Butterfly Bob flies through a peaceful landscape, collecting nectar from flowers while avoiding menacing bugs and traps hiding in bushes. The player uses gaze to guide Bob vertically, flying higher or lower as needed. It trains anticipatory focus, planning, and prioritization. This game is unlocked after 6 hours of play.
- Trapped-A-Zoid – The player uses gaze to steer a spaceship to avoid colliding with neighboring ships. It trains inhibitory control of attention, requiring the player to suppress salient visual input while gazing into the empty space where the spaceship will be safe. Executive function is trained by engaging top-down strategy planning. This game is unlocked after 10 hours of play.
I’m all for the creation of games that can help people, especially kids, in the real world.
What do you think?
Feel free to share your thoughts about The Attention Arcade with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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