Keynote speakers

Kathleen Yin

The power of games – Serious or not!

The field of serious games is always in a difficult spot. For the scientists and academic researchers, we are too frivolous and not serious enough. For the artists and commercial companies, we are slow, restricted, and far too serious. As serious game researchers continue to work in this nebulous gap between computer science, psychology, health, HCI, and liberal arts, we need to always be thinking outside of the box and trying to understand the impact of games in a real-life, work-as-done context. In this talk, I will cover some of the serious games and game research produced in the Australia/New Zealand region, and how they are fit for purpose in the real world.

Biography: Dr Kathleen Yin is a serious game researcher and advocate who is focused on using games for motivational behavioural change in a health context. She has a keen interest in applying games as behavioural medicine and tools for self-care and self-directed learning. Kathleen values engaging with the game industry and end users, and believes in studying games in a holistic, real-life environment. She had spoken extensively about serious games in industry, public, and academic events, including Game Connect Asia Pacific (GPAC), PAX Australia, and The Game Developer's Conference (GDC). She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Games for Change Asia-Pacific Festival, held in Melbourne in October every year to showcase serious games in the APAC region.

Dr. Daina Sturnieks

Motor-cognitive exergame training for the prevention of falls in older people: a randomised controlled trial

Falls in older people are a significant and growing public health issue. Integration of cognitive training in physical exercise programs may provide enhanced value for fall prevention by targeting known motor and neuropsychological risk factors. The smart±step system is a home based exergame training system delivering age-appropriate games designed to train cognitive and motor functions in older people via use of a wireless stepping mat. A 12-month randomised controlled trial involving 769 community dwelling older people was conducted to examine the effects of smart±step training on falls, physical and cognitive performance measures. Intervention participants were asked to play for 2 hours/week for 12 months and compliance was monitored via game log transfer to a central server. Participants averaged 80±47 minutes per week over 12 months. The rate of falls over 12 months was significantly reduced in the training group compared to control (incident rate ratio=0.74, 95% confidence interval=0.56-0.98). Secondary analyses showed intervention participants had significantly improved choice stepping reaction times, compared to the control group, with few other training effects on physical and cognitive outcomes. A system usability survey showed 83% of participants rated the system 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale of acceptability. This study has shown that home-based exergaming involving step training can provide safe and efficacious method of preventing falls in older people living in the community. Current work includes pilot testing and roll-out into aged care facilities.

Biography: Dr Sturnieks has a PhD in human biomechanics (UWA). She is Senior Lecturer in Anatomy at UNSW Medicine and Conjoint Senior Research Scientist at NeuRA. Her research focuses on understanding biomechanical, sensorimotor and neurocognitive contributions to balance and falls in older people and clinical groups, and randomised controlled trials of novel interventions to prevent falls involving balance, stepping and cognitive training. Dr Sturnieks is active in translating research findings into community, aged care and hospital settings and is Executive Board Member of the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society.

Justin Keenan

Some clinicians, robotic engineers, games developers and entrepreneurs walked into a bar and... Invented a 2nd wave therapy gaming therapy ecosystem that enables remote monitoring and motivation of therapy.

Biography: As Co Founder and CEO, Justin heads up Customer Experience and Operations at Lusio Technology, the Australian assistive technology and digital health innovator, and home of LusioMATE. Being deeply connected at a clinical practice level, and having worked with clients living with born or acquired disability and injury. Justin has been instrumental in Lusio staying true to its mantra, of being built by clinicians and players for clinicians and players. Justin has spent his entire career serving customers - from banking to human resources, building teams for blue chip organisations, and now leading the team and strategy at Lusio Technology. With a mission to create a product that is universal and inclusive by design, he embarked on a journey with 100’s of clients and clinical expert partners that continues today as LusioMATE expands its reach globally with a sole purpose of driving greater adherence to any therapy or exercise program.