BrainLeap Technologies launched a new gaming platform all about helping children with attention and focus challenges. The platform called The Attention Arcade is a series of games specifically designed to help improve focus and attention skills. The games were created based on National Institutes of Health-funded research on the matter.
In the pilot study from UC San Diego, 23 individuals between the ages of 9-25 were tested and played the games at home. At the end of the trial improvements were seen in fast and accurate shifts of attention, inhibitory control, and an improvement in focus. Each candidate noted an improvement in at least one area while “most showed improvements on multiple measures.” Another study by an independent researcher at University of Florida – Gainesville worked with 19 participants in an afterschool program. Once again, results were positive.
Here’s what BrainLeap says about the research and The Attention Arcade:
Research has shown that eye movement and attention are tightly linked and share much of the same brain circuitry. To put it simply, where we look and where we are planning to look are where we are placing our attention. The games in The Attention Arcade leverage this connection with games designed to train different aspects of attention. The player uses his or her eyes to control the games via an eye tracker. Improvements are closely tied to the amount of time played. If a child is playing daily for 20 minutes or more, users can see results in as little as four weeks, with significant improvements possible after eight weeks.
There are six games included in The Attention Arcade along with a parent training module, a reporting tool to track what your children are playing and for how long, and three assessments to help “demonstrate the skills users are developing in the games transfer to skills in the real world.” You can purchase them all from BrainLeap for $39 per month or you can get bunlde with the required eye-tracker for $49 per month and a $100 refundable deposit. The eye-tracker is also available separately on Amazon.
DR. MOLE & MR. HIDE – The goal of Dr. Mole & Mr. Hide is to hit bandit moles as they pop out of the ground and to avoid looking at the professor moles. As the game progresses, the moles appear more quickly and from more locations. The game trains the ability to quickly and accurately orient the player’s gaze and attention to a sudden event, and to monitor a wide range of view. As the game gets harder, inhibitory control is also developed as the player avoids looking at the professor moles.
SHROOMDIGGER – The player searches for spotted-top mushrooms in a mystical landscape. Focusing gaze on a “shroom” causes it to shrink until it disappears with a poof. Find all the shrooms before time runs out! The game trains attention by requiring steady fixation of gaze, visual search in a crowded field, and the ability to ignore moving distractions.
SPACE RACE – The player uses gaze to steer a ship through a cosmic race course, aiming for green gates, avoiding red gates, and collecting stars for bonus points. The game trains anticipatory focus by requiring the player to gaze ahead of the current ship position. Executive functions related to planning are trained by the need to quickly decide whether collecting a star will leave enough time to avoid a red gate that causes damage to the ship.
KUNG FALL – The player trains a ninja for the Dojo’s Aerial Skills exam. Using gaze, the player guides the ninja to land and balance on a series of rock pillars while avoiding birds and ignoring falling cherry blossoms. The game trains planning, steady fixation of attention and gaze, and the ability to ignore moving distractions. This game is unlocked after 3 hours of play.
BUTTERFLY BOB – Butterfly Bob flies through a peaceful landscape, collecting nectar from flowers while avoiding menacing bugs and traps hiding in bushes. The player uses gaze to guide Bob vertically, flying higher or lower as needed. It trains anticipatory focus, planning, and prioritization. This game is unlocked after 6 hours of play.
TRAPPED-A-ZOID – The player uses gaze to steer a spaceship to avoid colliding with neighboring ships. It trains inhibitory control of attention, requiring the player to suppress salient visual input while gazing into the empty space where the spaceship will be safe. Executive function is trained by engaging top-down strategy planning. This game is unlocked after 10 hours of play.