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Interactive Multimedia and Computer Science Professor Edward Kim Wins Robert Wood Johnson Games Challenge

1358568000_mediumThe College of New Jersey is thrilled to announce that Dr. Edward Kim, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Interactive Multimedia and Computer Science, earned first prize in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, “Games to Generate Data Challenge.” Developed along with Dr. James Park from Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Kim’s game wHealth: A Window into your Health, is designed to “predict the future health of a user or avatar by their reported use of exercise, patient history, and health questions.” Interactive Multimedia students Eliza Donne and Jared Krinsky helped design characters and environments for the game. Winners were announced at the seventh annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference in Santa Clara, CA, and Drs. Kim and Park took home the $100,000 top prize. Dr. Kim also earned second prize in the Static Visualization category of the “Price Transparency Challenge.”

“Games to Generate Data Challenge” consisted of two phases. First, teams were asked to describe the application they would design for the challenge.  The top five finalists each received $5,000 and were then allowed to move on to the second phase, where they were asked to create a working game applications that built upon what was proposed in the first phase. Evaluation criteria included creativity and innovation, design characteristics that clearly drive engagement and experience, and design, usability and intuitiveness of application, among others.

wHealth was designed with two imperative questions in mind: how could the use of the application improve users health, and what useful health data is needed to make this application successful. Through exploration of those questions, Kim and his team looked to engage the players through interactive storytelling while transferring knowledge and behaviors to the users. By making health scenarios more relatable to the player, and by showing immediate health consequences of unhealthy actions, the behavior is hoped to be deterred in real life and encourages the user to seek medical care if necessary.

The County Health Rankings for every county in the United States are accessible by wHealth. A user simply inputs their county into the game, and relevant statistics based upon the location and the story will be displayed. The data collected ranges from gender, age, and marital status to ethnicity, employment, and education. Users found the game to be interesting, entertaining, and fun, and welcomed an innovative way to obtain information about potential medical issues.

For more information on the challenge, please visit http://www.health2con.com/devchallenge/. For more info on Dr. Kim, please visit http://edwardkim.net/aboutme.php.

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