Gamers join forces to help people with dementia

03 May 2013

Jamming 4 Small Change takes place on 24 May

Jamming 4 Small Change takes place on 24 May

At first glance, groups of video game enthusiasts, boxes of pizza and 48 hours without sleep might seem an unusual way to help people who are affected by dementia.

But experts at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) believe the digital world offers untapped opportunities for those with memory problems, their carers, families and medical professionals.

Dr Jon Sykes, director of GCU’s eMotion lab, has teamed with Alzheimer Scotland and Glasgow School of Art to hold Jamming 4 Small Change, a weekend-long video game and app design challenge.

He is confident that Jammers will come up with games that will spark the development of digital-based therapies for the benefit of those with dementia.

Dr Sykes said: “Forget the fictional world of Harry Potter, Jamming 4 Small Change is where the real magic happens – it is Scotland’s creative industry manifesting life changing products in just 48 hours, for real people with real problems. That is why I am so proud of this event and the people who take part.”

As well as providing the chance to show how games technology can be used to improve health and wellbeing, Jamming 4 Small Change also offers the opportunity for up-and-coming developers to showcase their talents to a panel of judges, which will include some of the industry’s biggest names.

Glasgow School of Art students, under the guidance of Alzheimer Scotland through its intensive first hand research in the dementia community, will present their creative briefs to the Jamming participants to launch the event at GCU on Friday, 24 May.

Joyce Gray, Deputy Director of Development at Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We are very excited by the collaboration and are greatly looking forward to working with this hub of creative talent. Living well with dementia is a huge challenge for society, but one we need to address quickly and effectively. Harnessing the potential of digital technology to help us to do this could make a huge difference to people with dementia, their carers, partners and families.”

You can register to take part here. There is no entry fee and refreshments will be provided throughout the weekend.

Glasgow Caledonian University has gained an international reputation for its annual Scottish Game Jams. The GCU event is one of the biggest in the Global Game Jam, which in 2013 attracted 18,000 games designers from 63 countries.