RELAX AND RACE
Biosensor-based game, 2012
Galvanic Ltd . [IE]
Relax and Race involves the use of a novel biosensor [called the PiP] in a simple racing video game that runs on an Android tablet. The PiP is a biosensor that accurately measures a person’s galvanic skin response [GSR], a known biological signal that changes when a person is experiencing stress. When a person gets stressed, blood rushes to the periphery of the body to activate the sweat glands in anticipation of the body needing to be cooled if it overheats. This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response that is driven by what is known as the sympathetic nervous system in the human body. The conductivity of the skin changes quite dramatically during this physiological response. Through what is known as a biofeedback loop, a person can learn to control this response and essentially learn to manage stress. In the Relax and Race game each player holds a PiP and real-time GSR measurements are streamed over bluetooth to an Android tablet. Each player controls a different coloured dragon. As the players relax their dragon flies higher—the higher the dragon gets the faster it flies. The objective of Relax and Race is to relax more than your competitor in order to win the race. The race does not take long—a typical race lasts just under 2 minutes. One of the key aspects of the game is to demonstrate that a player can practice relaxation anytime and anywhere as long as they have a PiP paired to the game on their smart device. The game is set in a beautifully rendered 3D world and features an original music score specifically composed for the game.
"“Stress is a huge growing problem in the western world. There is more and more evidence to suggest that stress is the underlying cause of many serious illnesses, particularly in the mental health domain. There is a growing need to give people tools to manage stress in a rapidly changing world where the communication boundaries of time and distance have ultimately vanished. A constantly on, constantly connected world can be a very stressful place. Relax and Race is a counterintuitive game that can be played anywhere and at any time. Players race against one another, with the person most relaxed winning the race. The key idea behind the game is for players to learn how to manage the stress whilst racing in the video game and then to learn to use these same skills when managing stress in real life.”"
—Galvanic Ltd . [IE]