Monday, November 29, 2010

SAIC Serious Games Integrating SIM & Live Training at I/ITSEC

SAIC demonstrates Integrated Simulation and Training Solutions at the 2010 I/ITSEC

SAIC Demonstrates Serious Games as Integrated Simulation and Training Solutions at the 2010 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference

(ORLANDO) Nov. 29, 2010  -- Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) will feature advanced defense and security solutions at the 2010 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), Nov. 29-Dec. 2, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

With the theme “Empowering Through Integration”, SAIC will demonstrate the Common Driver Trainer (CDT) reconfigurable crew cab for collective task training; the Virtual Command Simulation Environment (VCSE), powered by SAIC's On-Line Virtual Interactive Environment (OLIVE), for training and decision support; and the mobile training range for fourth generation live training and engagement.

“SAIC’s training products offer integration and critical support for next generation live and simulated training solutions, infrastructure and communications,” said Beverly Seay, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager. “Our OLIVE 3-D virtual environment technology illustrates our ability to integrate virtually any data, images, processes, and training need into turn-key, customized solutions, while our service-based architecture product line demonstrates how we see the future of modeling and simulation.”

SAIC will be located at booth 1640, where experts will demonstrate cutting-edge live training, virtual, and constructive simulation products and solutions.

About SAIC
SAIC is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. The company’s approximately 45,000 employees serve customers in the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets. Headquartered in McLean, Va., SAIC had annual revenues of $10.8 billion for its fiscal year ended January 31, 2010.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Games for Health Conference Announces Dates & Call for Content

Discussing ways Serious Games for Health can advance on a global basis


Games for Health Project Announces Dates and Call for Content for
the 7th Annual Games for Health Conference - Largest Conference Dedicated to the Role of Serious Games in Health and Health Care - to Hold Next Event May 17-19 in Boston

Portland, Maine - November 22, 2010 - The Games for Health Project, which since 2004 has been working to support the use of Serious Games and video game technologies in health and health care, announced a call for content for its 7th Annual Games for Health Conference, scheduled for May 17-19, 2011, in Boston, Mass.

Any organizations or individuals interested in speaking, hosting a panel, or providing a demo and case study for a project can easily submit their talk online.

Accepted speakers and panelists receive free admission to the Games for Health Conference.

The 7th Annual Games for Health Conference program takes place on May 18-19, 2011 and includes simultaneous tracks, a poster session, exhibits, and special topic rooms. Each day features 25 or more talks across a variety of open and specific topic areas.

The conference also includes several unique pre-conference events on Tuesday, May 17, 2011, that will cover games accessibility, medical modeling and simulation with games, messaging, and mobile-specific solutions.

Games for Health is now the anchor event for Games Beyond Entertainment week, which is a festival of events dedicated to the impact of video games on all walks of life and their potential beyond personal entertainment.

Content submissions are being evaluated as they arrive. The first acceptances will be before the end of 2010. Aside from open content tracks, talks can be submitted specifically for the following topical tracks or events:

* Active gaming and exergaming

* Cognitive and emotional health

* Sensorimotor rehab

* Social gaming and virtual worlds

* Nutrition

* Mobile gaming for health

* Medical modeling, simulation, and education

* Games accessibility

Topics to consider covering also include disease management and education, professional training/education, pain distraction/stress relief, medical informatics, PHR/EMR, health effects of games, general health behavior change, virtual patients, cyberpsychology/psychotherapy, interface and visualization applications, drug discovery/health industry productivity, effectiveness of health games, insights on gamers and gamer psychology, and relevant game design and design theory.


Founded in 2004, the Games for Health Project supports community, knowledge, and business development efforts to use cutting-edge games and game technologies to improve health and health care. The Pioneer Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the lead conference sponsor and a major supporter of the Games for Health Project. To date, the project has brought together researchers, medical professionals, and game developers to share information about the impact games and game technologies can have on health, health care, and policy.

A major effort of the Games for Health Project is the annual Games for Health Conference. Over three days, more than 400 attendees will participate in over 60 sessions provided by an international array of 80+ speakers, cutting across a wide range of activities in health and health care. Topics include exergaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, biofeedback, rehab, epidemiology, training, cognitive health, nutrition, and health education. The Games for Health Project is produced by the Serious Games Initiative, a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars effort that applies cutting-edge games and game technologies to a range of public and private policy, leadership, and management issues.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Serious Games For Medical Training Gains Footing

Beyond emergency training scenarios, the use of gaming and simulation technology has been slow to gain footing in the medical arena

Tameka Clanton, a biomechanics researcher at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, demonstrates the iMedic, a program that creates a 3-D X-ray that allows doctors to examine the human body from every angle.

Last week, The Washington Post published a must read article about the use of Serious Games in medical training - Playing Doctor: Learning About Slips Of The Knife Better On 'Patients' Than Patients (Please find also Serious Games Futuring Medical Training In France)

Although the use of gaming and simulation technology had been slow to gain footing in medical training, the article exemplifies how the video gaming industry has penetrated academia, offering researchers and students a new way to understand techniques that aren't always easy to teach.

“What's changing drastically now is the capability to inject much more robust and usable applications in the form of video games and computer simulations into these environments like never before", says Ben Sawyer.

Article Highlight

Maryland Advanced Simulation, Training, Research and Innovation (MASTRI) Center

The University of Maryland Medical Center has transformed an entire wing into the MASTRI Center. Surgical residents train there in once-functional operating rooms converted into simulation labs

The Maryland Advanced Simulation, Training, Research, and Innovation (MASTRI) Center officially opened its doors on December 6, 2006 with the dual goals of providing world-class simulation and training in a cross-disciplinary setting to a diverse constituency and providing a platform for innovation and research into simulation, training and practice.

The center employs both low and high-fidelity simulators for surgery, anesthesia and trauma procedures.

A broad array of equipment is utilized: multiple trainer stands provide advanced workstations for laparoscopic skill development, assessment, and training; Virtual reality (VR) simulators include Immersion Medicals Endoscopic AccuTouch LapVR and Haptica ProMIS.

The MASTRI Center extends its services to diverse groups with a variety of offerings outside of standard surgical simulation. Fifteen courses - including Intracorporeal Suturing, Basic to Emergent Airway, Laparoscopic Bowel Anastomosis, Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Repair with Mesh Placement, and Intro to VR Laparoscopy - are currently offered to general surgery residents. The courses often take place in their entirety in the MASTRI Center, but this doesn't govern how residents spend their time learning.

The center was envisioned as a premier educational environment devoted to the training of healthcare practitioners across a diverse spectrum, with a particular focus on how users learn and adapt to new technologies.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Serious Games Evolving To The Point Of Influence On Society

Serious Games Expo 2010 in Lyon

Via: Observatoires des Pôles de Compétitivité - The Official Program Of The Serious Games Expo 2010

For its sixth consecutive edition, the Serious Games Expo, organized by the Competitiveness Cluster Imaginove and partners, opens its doors on November 23, 2010 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Cité Centre des Congrès - Cité Internationale de Lyon. 800 participants are expected to attend the largest French gathering of professionals in the industry.

The Serious Games Expo is considered a must visit exhibition to meet the best industry players in France: Serious Games and Advergames developers will share their successful experiences and present industry trends.

Jean Baptiste Labrune, a researcher at the MIT Media Laboratory, will host and moderate the plenary session at 11.45 AM. Serious Games get a makeover with a whole new generation that intends to revolutionize the practice. The audience will discover how, after touching large groups, Serious Games, in the broadest sense, will evolve to the point of influence on society.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Serious Games To Solve Mysteries And Learn The History Of Biology

Serious Games fostering lifelong passion for science

Via: Spongelab Biology - History of Biology – An Online Science Scavenger Hunt Game!

History of Biology is an interactive, online science scavenger hunt where students experience the history of biology, through the people and the impact their discoveries had on, and continues to have on, our culture, society, politics, economics, and ethics.

Starting in the 17th Century, with the invention of microscopes and the first descriptions of microscopic life, users complete weekly missions and solve puzzles by researching the lives and scientific discoveries of over 20 scientists.

Users progress through a rich story-line driven game that parallels the scientific timeline of discovery. The game content takes users through the cell theory, microscopes, classification, evolution, and mechanisms of heredity, the central dogma of genetics, the genomics revolution and where biological science is heading in the near future.

As part of Spongelab Biology, History of Biology is one of several educational games produced by Spongelab Interactive. Subscribers of Spongelab Biology have full online access to the History of Biology Game, the internationally recognized and award-winning Genomics Digital Lab (GDL), and the Bio-musical Sensation Transcription Hero.

Genomics Digital Lab is an online learning environment where users experience the world of biology through immersive discovery-based learning. Teaching and learning with GDL and all Spongelab Biology products captivates learners and engages them in the biology they are studying, while simultaneously promoting critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills.

Here are the PRESS RELEASE excerpts.

Who needs books when you can learn through games?

TORONTO, ON – October 4, 2010- Spongelab Interactive, the award-winning educational gaming studio behind the Genomics Digital Lab series of science-based games has released its latest title, History of Biology.

Launched fall 2010, this science-themed scavenger hunt interweaves a fictional mystery storyline with actual historic events and key characters based on real-life monoliths of science. History of Biology not only educates, but provokes thought and discussion around one of the most fascinating and controversial branches of modern science - genetic engineering. The implications, of this branch of science, have far reaching effects on culture, politics and ethics today. Without weighing in on either side of the debate, the designers engage the player in a philosophical dialogue in a unique way.

Now available at this online game immerses the player into the mysterious world of Dr. Walden Shyre. Players will have to scour the Internet to find clues, solve missions and break the code to reveal the secrets that Shyre has taken great pains to protect. With the future of modern science in their hands, the player must also try to evade the shadowy forces that are after Shyre’s research and closing in fast.

With an engaging storyline, as well as beautiful 3D graphics and animation, History of Biology breathes new life into a genre that has typically been text-based puzzle or trivia games. This new game is just one of the interactive simulations available for play in the Spongelab Biology educational game portfolio.

History of Biology has metrics and assessment tools to help teachers understand how their students are learning and progressing through the content and facilitate grading.

About Spongelab Interactive

Spongelab Interactive is a leader in advancing the integration of cutting edge technologies for teaching and learning purposes. Their mission is to educate learners in the sciences by building content rich immersive teaching tools designed around discovery-based learning.

Spongelab Interactive builds their own products and offers custom production services for the global education community. Their unique approach around integrating educational design with web & gaming technology is planting the seeds for continued innovation of advanced communication and education products.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

RescueSim: Serious Games For Multi-Agency Emergency Response

Serious Games allowing emergency crews to experience the incident as they would in real-life

Via: RescueSim

In recent months, VSTEP  a Serious Games developer and provider of virtual training platforms, held a number of regional workshops across The Netherlands to demonstrate the capabilities of its multi-agency emergency response trainer RescueSim.

RescueSim is mono and multidisciplinary training software that prepares public safety and security professionals for real-life incidents in a virtual environment.

RescueSim allows emergency crews to experience the incident as they would in real-life. They assess the situation and determine the best response strategy, implement it and then observe the consequences of their decisions.

The workshops were used to demonstrate the RescueSim application to the emergency services in the context of VITTOS project.

The VITTOS project has started two years ago to develop a new generation of virtual training tools that would allow Emergency services to train for large scale incidents.

VITTOS stands for Virtual Incident Training for Tactical, Operational and Strategic decision making. Purpose of the VITTOS project is to expand the existing RescueSim virtual training platform where any incident or disaster can be simulated in realistic 3D virtual environments.

RescueSim has become commercially available and has been adopted by various safety regions and agencies as their prime training tool for both single and multi-agency training.

The application is modular with interchangeable components (different physical environments can be simulated) scenarios (Operational, Tactical and Strategic levels) and content. The user can customize the scenarios themselves easily, which offers a great freedom in practicing different incident trends.

The project was designed by VSTEP in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam, Safety Region Rotterdam-Rijnmond and various other emergency services.

RescueSim Offshore Incident Management Module Introduced

Late September, VSTEP released its Offshore Incident Management module for the RescueSim virtual training platform.

The offshore incident management module focuses on disasters and incidents taking place offshore. These incidents can take place on board of different types of vessels, as well as include incidents or disasters on board of oil rig platforms. The new module makes it possible to train specialized offshore incidents and response strategies, including oil rig incidents & on-board fires, as well as search & rescue and evacuation scenarios, all from within the RescueSim platform.

The module contains many offshore specific objects. By placing different vessels and oil rig configurations, a realistic and believable offshore training environment is created.

The Offshore Incident Management module is created specifically for use by Coast Guard, Port authorities, Offshore Safety officers, Vessel commanders and Company incident command teams (dealing with offshore).

Spill Response SIM

The Industrial Fire Journal published an article this quarter about the advantages of virtual training with RescueSim for Oil Spill simulations.

Here are the excerpts!

After the explosions and the subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on the Deepwater Horizon platform, the port industry has shown increased interest in oil spill simulators. 

VSTEP is now developing a spill response simulator for the Port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands.

Cristijn Sarvaas, CEO of VSTEP, believes that although small spills happen on a regular basis, the real challenge lies in how port authorities respond to large incidents.

The simulator VSTEP is currently developing calculates the projected course of a spill based on fluid dynamics, dependent on the type of agent, as well as its viscosity, weight and other properties. External factors that determine the course of the spill are tides, weather circumstances and river flow. In this spill simulator the capability of the responsible agency to contain and dispose of the agent is tested.

Cheshire Fire & Rescue Services State-Of-The-Art Training Facility In Winsford, UK

VSTEP has completed a project with the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in the UK, opening an advanced training centre in Winsford where the emergency services can train for major incidents.

The new facility incorporates VSTEP’s fully customizable virtual reality 3D training platform RescueSim. “The training centre is divided into six different training areas, where incident commanders from all levels can train virtually, exactly as if it were a real life situation.

The training centre is built according to the incident command structure used in the UK. Incidents are approached from four sectors, front, back, left and right. The training rooms (pods) correspond with these sectors and the different screens show what is going on in a specific sector of the incident, according to where the different levels of command – bronze, silver, gold – would be normally stationed.

The students all wear their actual gear, and use the same means of communications (radio, laptop) as they would during a normal incident. In general they conduct the exercise from their own pod but, as in real life, they convene in the command centre for the incident command meeting to determine the best strategy.

Instructors follow the incidents via webcams or walk around during an exercise, monitoring progress on their iPads to receive the best possible overview and assess student capabilities.

Port Incident Management  

Ellesmere Port Authority, near Liverpool, is within Cheshire FRS’s jurisdiction, and  will also benefit from this new centre, as the authority needs to train its own personnel for the initial response to a major shipping or industrial incident and the handover to the fire service when it arrives.

RescueSim already has an extensive object and environment library, and all it took was to adapt these to the UK. Basically, it depends on the type of client and the training goals that they want to reach with the exercise.

Industrial Incident Management


VSTEP is a leading European developer of simulators and virtual training software. Using interactive 3D technology from the computer gaming industry, VSTEP creates training applications and games that allow people to build their skills in a practical and cost effective way.

The company is headquartered in the bustling business heart of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. VSTEP currently employs over 40 staff members, supplemented with an extensive network of value-added subcontractors. Since its founding in 2002, VSTEP has successfully completed over 40 training applications for leading industry clients and governmental organizations. A pioneer in the creation of innovative games and virtual training, VSTEP has provided solutions for customers like the Royal Dutch Navy, Port of Rotterdam, Falck/Nutec, Shell, DSM, Dutch Railways and many others.

Monday, November 1, 2010

ClearLab Project: Serious Games for Middle-School Science

Serious Games fostering lifelong passion for science

Via: Muzzy Lane Software

ClearLab is a project to create innovative 3D Science Serious Games for middle school students.

ClearLab games are intended be immersive and educational, and can be played in the browser - at school, the library, at home - anywhere with access to the Internet. Teachers are able to assign, manage and assess student game play from the web.

ClearLab is being developed by Muzzy Lane Software, Inc., in partnership with the Federation of American Scientists, curriculum developers from K12, Inc and science teachers around the country.

The project's primary goal is to develop games that improve student performance on standardized assessment and that foster lifelong passion for science.

The ClearLab Game Arcade beta site uses the Sandstone service to deliver games to your browser and is currently in beta. Not all browsers and operating systems are currently supported.

The first game they have featured in their Game Arcade is called Atomic Hero. It is a small demo to whet people's appetites for using games to teach science. By utilizing 3D graphics and multiple viewing angles, they believe they have created a tool that shows how visualization can be key for a student learning a concept.

Coming soon, I Betcha is a slot car racing set taking place on top of a lab table in a classroom – “Use your wits, not your reflexes, to win this race against the laws of physics!”
The track would weave between common objects found in schools and learning spaces such as bunsen burners, beakers, computers, probes, pencils and notebooks. This had the primary goal of creating a familiar environment for players.

Here's a peek at what I Betcha is going to look like

ClearLab is an open development project. Over the next two years, the site aspires to be a community where ideas about games for science will be shared, prototype games will be played and critiqued, and new design ideas and approaches will be tested and vetted.

If you have an interest in science games - as a teacher, scientist, student, gamer, or game developer - we invite you to join the ClearLab project. Create an account today to access the site resources as they become available.