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Dec. 12, 2019

UCA PhD student designs game to help diabetic children

UCAA PhD student from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Farnham has designed a game to help diabetic children in his home country of Thailand.

Type 1 diabetes is an under-diagnosed condition in Thailand and is therefore also under-researched, especially in young children. Veerapong Klangpremjit, a PhD student from UCA Farnham, has combined with his love of gaming with his family's medical background to research this field and create a game called Rocket Ninja to help young diabetic children in Thailand manage their condition.

UCA newsVeerapong explains, “There was a lack of facilities in Thailand to support patients who were newly diagnosed with the early stages of Type 1 diabetes. My initial research found that diabetic children’s caregivers had to go into their schools to administer insulin without the schools’ support, and in the worst cases, the schools didn’t accept the child because their complex symptoms required extra administration by school staff.”

The PhD student’s research – Rocket Ninja: Approaches to the Design of Diabetic Health Games for Thai Culture – examines how a game can be used to help Type 1 diabetic Thai children, who are starting school for the first time, to manage their condition through a rewards-based system. This is in the form of a game in which children build their own spaceship. There are four main features to the game; learning coping strategies; uploading daily data such as sugar levels and food intakes; mini quiz games; and response and feedback from the caregivers. Using a space-themed storyline the child’s score across each of these four categories is directly linked to the efficacy of a customised rocket ship, and determines how far they are able to travel through space.

Veerapong explains, “It allows children to continuously monitor, report and study their condition, giving them responsibility for it, alongside their parents teachers and/or other caregivers”

To put it simply, the diabetic child is motivated to score well in order to fly their spaceship, and this in turn helps the child self-manage their condition.

Veerapong plans to develop a final prototype of the game, which he will then use to support a healthcare non-profit organisation in Thailand that works with children.

Find out more about postgraduate study at the University for the Creative Arts.

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Content added on 12th December 2019. 

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