A team of four engineering students at Philadelphia’s Villanova University have designed a system to improve focus in ADHD patients using Nintendo’s popular racing game franchise Mario Kart and real-time neurological data.
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a type of mental disorder that often causes people to have excessive energy or difficulty paying attention.
To approach this problem, the students worked with Narbis, a company that develops technology that helps people stay focused.
Using Narbis tech, the students captured neurofeedback data of ADHD patients when they played Mario Kart 64. Narbis found success in using its neurofeedback tech in test studies with ADHD patients, especially with children and adults who aren’t seeing results with prescription medication.
“This whole area of neurofeedback is kind of interesting because it does help you to try and train yourself to be better focusing by relaxing and concentrating,” Mark Jupina, the students’ professor, told Mashable.
“The idea here is basically we’re using neurofeedback technology from Narbis to obtain the focus level of a person playing the Mario Kart game. As the player’s focus level changes, the speed of the kart changes accordingly — better their attention level, better their focus level, the faster the kart goes.”
So far, this is just a mod the students have created in Mario Kart 64, so it’s unclear if this will release to general ADHD patients. Still, the mod demonstrates how video games can be used for more than just recreational purposes.