Project objectives

The proposed game-based intervention is expected to alleviate ADHD-associated symptoms and constitute a competent digital alternative to conventional ADHD treatment methods.

This will be achieved by introducing dedicated game mechanics for behavioural change and skill acquisition, spatial game experiences and interaction possibilities that adhere to well-founded learning methods and aim at the acquisition of specific mental and motor skills that can counteract ADHD symptoms, while ensuring that all relevant social aspects (ethics, gender, privacy, inclusion, etc.) are adequately addressed. The approach will be underpinned by multisensory interaction, personalisation according to the user’s profile and real-time multimodal adaptation of game mechanics using neurofeedback processes and positive/negative behaviour reinforcement feedback loops. The game-based intervention will be demonstrated in a pilot study implementation where the effectiveness of the proposed games regarding skill acquisition will be tested and evaluated.

It is expected that the implementation of the proposed game-based intervention programme will moderate ADHD symptoms and associated learning limitations of school-aged children with ADHD. This would enable them to achieve better general performance as well as additional learning styles in the formal education system leading to better education and employment opportunities. Furthermore, the management of ADHD symptoms is expected to address social inhibitions and significantly decrease the likelihood that the sufferer will exhibit socially problematic, aggressive and anti-social behaviour in adult life.

The FocusLocus Consortium includes diverse fields of expertise, including ICT researchers, learning science researchers, cognitive science researchers, clinical psychologists, neuroscientists, health economists, game developers, ADHD treatment intermediary organizations and game publishers. It is expected that the multiple involved complementary disciplines will lead to a comprehensive approach for the proposed game-based ADHD intervention that addresses all relevant aspects by leveraging, adapting, re-purposing and integrating technologies and methodologies from disparate fields, originating from previous R&D activities by the Consortium members.

The FocusLocus games will include a dedicated unobtrusive logging component that records user actions and biofeedback information while playing. By analysing the captured data, FocusLocus will be able to determine the player’s behavioural performance and generate relevant intelligible reports in regards to sought skill acquisition. The reports will be constantly available to clinicians, teachers, parents and other relevant intermediaries so as to monitor the progress and will aid in making informed decisions for necessary adaptations to the treatment, by remotely accessing and balancing the game’s settings.

The project will provide evidence of return on investment both for the private sector and social welfare. From a cost benefit analysis perspective, FocusLocus will serve in reducing costs of medical intervention by reducing the number of other interventions. It will increase the level of effective engagement of children and need in resourcing by the carers, the parents, the teachers and the healthcare professionals. FocusLocus will customise the solution to each child’s personal needs by requiring a minimum occupational cost. The project will introduce effective technology based on solutions that can be used anywhere, thus furtherreducing medication costs.

The FocusLocus expected success in exploiting the commercialization opportunities of providing cost-effective sustainable solutions, will encourage new investments in the field of ADHD and associated deficits treatment and will contribute to the competitiveness of the European ICT industry in this domain. FocusLocus aims to develop an efficient business model (BM) and sustainable business plans in the area of gaming and gamification and treatment/rehabilitation by leveraging the strong and proven expertise of the market oriented partners in the research, assessment and finally adoption of appropriate and cost effective BMs. The modular game components of FocusLocus will allow the adoption, for example, of service oriented BMs, which will enhance the reusability and interoperability of the FocusLocus games, reduce the time-to-market and increase flexibility to market and customer needs.

FocusLocus will be able to tailor the gaming experience to individual profiles and offer personalised ADHD treatment programmes. The programmes will serve as recommendations and further customisation will be possible by the intermediary (clinician, parent, special needs educator) monitoring the child with ADHD through direct specification of game settings according to sought skills and behavioural change. The personalisation process will extend into the actual gameplay in the form of real-time game adaptation and normalisation of the experience according to a multimodal analysis of user feedback. The personalisation and adaptation aspects of FocusLocus will be enabled by the proposed gaming system modular architecture and parametric mechanics, relying on scalable agent-based simulations that can allow a seamless dynamic balancing of game elements (e.g., world size, complexity, difficulty, etc.).

The two FocusLocus UX game modes will be marketed as separate products that will be efficient individually, but their combined use is expected to bring increased benefits in terms of ADHD treatment. The first product will be directly available to children and immediate caregivers for home use as a retail, cost-effective solution requiring only a mobile tablet device and a low-cost EEG device. The second FocusLocus gaming UX mode (requiring a more advanced setup and equipment) will target the market of intermediary organisations, schools and treatment centres by registering an added value to the services of such organisations, as it will constitute an additional and complementary treatment method to currently applied methods. The dual marketing approach will be further promoted by incorporating a game mechanism where the child is encouraged to play in both UX modes as the achievements in each mode will be reflected in the other. The incentive to visit the treatment centres will also contribute to the potential to overcome ADHD symptoms as it will facilitate contact with the treatment professionals for direct monitoring purposes and engagement in complementary treatment sessions.

FocusLocus will be accessible from anywhere and at any time with one of the two game UX modes being able to operate on a low-cost mobile tablet device. The user experience will be complemented with the second game UX mode that will rely on simple adaptive configurations that can be easily installed on the premises of intermediary organisations (treatment centres, schools, etc.). By introducing optimised server-client communications, all user information and performance analytics data will be stored in a cloud-based database, becoming accessible to intermediaries through a web-based interface, which will also enable the control of game parameters for the further personalisation of the intervention programme.