Gaming gets a bad rap among those who weren't born with a smartphone in their hands and a computer on their lap. While there has been an endless cue of articles urging millennials and Gen Z to unplug and get back to living "real life," now that may come at the cost of their health.
Games are no longer just a passing round of Angry Birds while waiting for a friend or something for an intense few gamers who obsess about World of Warcraft. Now, games are improving people's quality of life and even saving lives of both young and old.
TrendHunter.com has studied over 250,000 ideas, all of which are evaluated by a 100 million-person focus group. This focus group has shown substantial interest in what Trend Hunter calls 'Gamified Ailment' in recent months. Every chronic illness – from diabetes to alzheimer's disease and cancer – is being flipped upside down as applications begin to flood the market with the purpose of making health management not only easier, but enjoyable.
This pivot is helping to reframe the chore of illness maintenance to entertainment, and Alvio is a great example of this next evolution in health care. This kid-friendly app aims to "help millions of people with respiratory challenges improve their condition," according to their website, "through mobile games controlled by breathing." It's simple. Play Alvio's games more, and feel the effects of asthma less.
Childhood asthma is a growing problem not only for those afflicted, but also for the families of those who suffer and the drain it puts on the healthcare system. "Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15," states Corey Wilson-Wirth, leader of Business Development at Alvio.
Mr. Wilson-Wirth believes that the technology available now to asthma sufferers is not cutting it in terms of engagement and innovation. Studies have shown that by tracking your asthma condition and participating in regular lung exercises can reduce the need for inhaler medication by up to 86 per cent. This stat illuminated a clear opportunity for Alvio: to create a successful business that also enhances lives.
To play, all you need is your phone or tablet and Alivo's mobile game controller, which unlike regular game controllers, uses your breath to move undersea characters on the screen. While the characters controlled by a player's breath achieve their goals, the user is actively participating in customized breathing exercises that allow them to practice strength and control of their breath as well as increase their lung capacity. All of the games included with Alvio are based on clinical respiratory protocols.
Ehud Tal, who heads up product development at Alvio, believes that the app is valuable not only for the children who use it to minimize daily symptoms, but for parents to monitor their child's illness to prevent attacks before they happen and for physicians to track illness progress overtime.
Other apps similar to Alvio are seeing interest and making impact. 'Monster Manor' is a game that encourages diabetic kids to record their blood glucose levels and 'HealthPrize' is an app that has a point-based system to encourage people to take their prescriptions regularly.
The next time you're out and about and you see a young child glued to their smartphone or tablet, eagerly trying to rack up points, they could be tuned out to the "real world" or they could be tuned in to improving their health.
Shelby Walsh is the president of Trend Hunter, the world's most updated, largest collection of cutting edge ideas.