Skip to Content

A Video Game for Angry Teens

Incorporating heart-rate monitoring into gaming might help teens practice self-control.
October 2, 2009

Teenage boys, especially those with emotional problems, aren’t the most receptive group when it comes to therapy. So Jason Kahn, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston, and Peter Ducharme, a clinical social worker also at Children’s, have developed a Space Invaders-like video game that they hope will help engage their adolescent patients in therapy. “This changes the perception of therapy because it’s about playing games,” said Ducharme, who presented the research at the Future of Health Technology conference at MIT earlier this week.

The game, in which players shoot down alien invaders while avoiding friendly ships, is rigged to a heart-rate monitor worn by the player. If the player’s heart rate goes too high during the game, the game becomes more difficult to control. In response, the player then employs relaxation techniques previously learned in therapy within the context of the game, slowing their heart rate and calming them down. “The idea is to create a mildly stressful situation where the player must regulate his response,” said Kahn. “Hopefully that ability to exert control will expand to other situations.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

AV2.0 autonomous vehicles adapt to unknown road conditions concept
AV2.0 autonomous vehicles adapt to unknown road conditions concept

The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere

The mainstream approach to driverless cars is slow and difficult. These startups think going all-in on AI will get there faster.

biomass with Charm mobile unit in background
biomass with Charm mobile unit in background

Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal

The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.