With Not Impossible selected as part of TEDMED's The Hive 2014 in San Francisco, we took the opportunity to touch base with other innovators who inspire us. Alvio's Tanya Roitman designed & illustrated games for kids that work with the company's breath-activated controller to enable game-motivated breath-training and rehabilitation. The simple and sheer beauty of the interface design will definitely appeal to kids, motivate them to play, improve their condition, and will keep their key people informed on their progress. It's a win-win-win!
So, What’s AlviO?
It’s a breathing trainer, it measures and analyzes, and it's a game controller. You can play the game with your breath instead of your thumbs. This specific game was designed for children (4-12 y.o.) with respiratory challenges. So, children with respiratory troubles like asthma or COPD, who have to measure their level of oxygen, like, three times a day, can play this instead. I’ll breathe, you can describe--
Cool. So, in this first game, you blow in the tube, and a puffer fish becomes a puffed-up puffer fish. You’re testing lung capacity.
Exactly. These kids, they also have to train their lungs, just to make sure that they're keeping the same kind of resistance up. This next game is built around breathing, measuring both your exhale and your inhale.
Cool, so as you're breathing in and out, the little fish is floating up and down a vertical plane to capture its food just like Super Mario collects coins. He's getting lots of different points.
So you're making your exercise, and if you’re being told to exercise like this for two hours a week, you play the game, and you doing what they should do. So that's it!
Very cool. And, has anybody used it yet? In the real world?
We actually now, this is being introduced in a hospital, but the biggest problem that we have, up until now, is that we don't have enough prototypes, because children really love it.
Who is the first person who tried it?
It was designed for our friend. She had a son, and he was two years old, and he has breathing problems and nobody could say, with a child that young whether it was asthma or what other kind of trouble he had. He was blowing into a plastic tube that raised a little ball inside. So, we tried to create the game like this. I made the animation, and I saw that the treatment made sense. And we saw that he really loves it. The only problem was, sometimes it created a kind of like panic, stressful situation for him, he was reacting strongly and would gasp. So maybe it was stress, really, for him. But, we could see it worked.
It's a great solution. And now we're learning that it really might be huge for all the people with asthma, for pre-operative and post-operative patients, maybe even for helping delay the onset of Parkinson’s, and with people with different kinds of heart trouble where you need them to breathe in a regular way.
Rehabilitation and control ...
Yes. To motivate. And we have different games for different ages. So we can skim games differently, because the only thing you really need is your game controller. And the app can collect the data and send it to the cloud, and to the person’s practitioner, or medical professional. And, it's just fun.
What's your background?
I'm a game designer in UX/UI, so I was helping with animation, and the interface.
Very cool. Where are you based?
In New Jersey.
In terms of getting this product out to market, what is the next step for you?
We're now doing different tests in different clinics and different hospitals. And, we're in process of FDA approval but we can also go to market with something that we don't need any of the approval for, like voice therapy, speech therapy, and just like breath training.