Keeping patients moving

Two Carolina faculty members have created an augmented reality video game designed for pediatric hospital patients called Adventure Squad with the goal of keeping the young patients active during their treatment.

Two Carolina professors have teamed up to keep patients at the UNC Children’s Hospital active and on the move during their treatments.

Steven King, assistant professor of emerging technologies and multimedia journalism, and Richard Hobbs, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the School of Medicine, have created an augmented reality video game designed for pediatric hospital patients called Adventure Squad.

The game encourages children to get out of bed, move in the hallways, interact with staff, participate in therapies and be entertained, all while decreasing medical complications and shortening hospital stays. The Adventure Squad product line is designed to be nonprofit, possibly generating donations for hospitals where the game is played.

“We are trying to take it from a proof of concept from the prototype, and turn it into a professional game,” King said. “Our goal with Adventure Squad is to get this game into the hands of every hospitalized child across the country.”

The project is one of two faculty-led teams working on products to help people outside the University that received a C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities at Carolina, which supply $75,000 in funding toward each project.

In 2007, C. Felix Harvey III and his family endowed the Harvey Award to fulfill the longstanding mission of social service. The award is intended to recognize exemplary faculty who reflect the University’s commitment to innovative engagement and outreach that addresses real-world challenges.

Awards are given to the faculty member or members whose proposed project best applies humanities and/or social sciences methods or approaches in innovative ways that create a measurable impact on a problem. 

The family gift has been groundbreaking from its inception, funding projects that apply humanities and/or social sciences methods or approaches to problems outside the University community. The award takes a model of scholarly engagement and outreach that is familiar in business and hard sciences and extends it to disciplines that have not been encouraged to grow in the same ways. Central to the family’s mission is support for the University’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.

The other winners of a Harvey Award are William Rohe, director of Carolina’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies, and Michael Webb, a senior research associate at the center. They are creating a web app that will assist low-income people in Orange and Durham counties find safe and affordable housing.