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Salt Lake City — The University of Utah has launched the Games4Health Challenge, a competition that encourages students to develop prototypes of health-related video games and smartphone applications for a chance to win part of an estimated $50,000 in cash and prizes.
“The University of Utah is uniquely positioned to become a beacon for video games that promote health, empower patients and give physicians another powerful tool to provide personalized medicine,” said Vivian Lee, senior vice president for health sciences.
Teams in the competition will create an original video game or smartphone application to address a healthcare need. One game already developed by students at the U teaches kids across the autism spectrum basic skills like washing their hands. Another game under clinical development at the U gives kids with cancer a sense of empowerment by letting them “battle” their illness. In addition to a working game or application, teams must provide the business model for commercialization and develop a clinical trial design for proving its effectiveness.
“Nothing like this exists anywhere,” said Christopher Wasden, director of the Sorenson Center for Discovery and Innovation at the David Eccles School of Business.
Student applications will be accepted through March, 2014, and judging will take place in April. Students from all fields — including medical, nursing, health, pharmacy, physical therapy, psychology, nutrition, bioengineering and others — are invited to attend a workshop in January to learn more about the competition and application process.