The winning entry in the Interactive Design category of Fast Company’s Innovation By Design Awards is Pain Squad, an iPhone game that doubles as a data collection tool developed by Cundari for the Hospital for Sick Children. Of course, that’s as much as you could learn about it reading the article. The biggest issue I’ve had with design award websites is the lack of information about the winning projects. Fast Company’s site fares no better, but a Google search turned up their own article about the app from April 23rd.
Part of the treatment process at The Hospital for Sick Children (or SickKids, a leading pediatric oncology facility) involves patients keeping detailed pain journals every day. Unfortunately, children who have just undergone chemotherapy often feel too weak, tired, or discouraged to pick up a pen and do the work. Enter Cundari and its solution: the Pain Squad Mobile App, an iPhone touchscreen interface that not only makes it easy for patients at SickKids to fill out the journals, but also gives them a sense of purpose.
Pain Squad is a great example of “gamification”, a term I’ve never cared for, but one that has caught on. More specifically, it is an example of gamification applied appropriately towards a very serious issue. It’s particularly timely for me, as I will be teaching Game Design again next semester.