My return to work after a year on maternity leave couldn't have begun more pleasantly. Straight away, I was able to enjoy the inspiring world of a Health Game Jam. Especially as four HTC Vive VR systems had appeared. The virtual worlds almost carried this girl away, so, in order not to lose touch with reality, it's good for me to think about just what has happened while I've been away and all the things I've missed out on.
During the year, the national network has become more close-knit. Health Game Jams and other joint events have now been held elsewhere than here in our beloved Savo. Now we just need to think of a way to publicise the products of these events so that they would inspire other people than me and maybe bring their creators new ideas. Likewise, where applicable they should be tested in real environments in order to see which of them would be worth developing further. I swear by the rock and the stump that some kind of place for this will be found by the autumn. If I eat my words, then let me be a grump.
By the way, our Kalevi came to the weekend jam to present one possible route in primary and secondary care. Kalevi's presentation (in Finnish) can be viewed here.
Kuopio has given rise to a gamification community. PelinTakojat ry is a Kuopio-based promotional association for the gaming industry aimed at creating a network in the Kuopio region of those interested in gaming and game development. They are now gathering enthusiasts in the Kuopio region and you can get involved simply by sending them a message. In the future, we will organise joint events with them. As things stand, the first official one is going to take place in the autumn, on 29 September. In fact, you can already register for the event here (in Finnish)
The Finnish Brain Research and Rehabilitation Center Neuron has reached the piloting stage in a project called "Through web-based remote rehabilitation towards better occupational capacity, well-being and equality". I'm looking forward with interest to this rehabilitation of the future becoming a new hit and to hearing about the applicability of games and the views of rehabilitation patients. And, in general, I hope that we would get a lot of comprehensive research on the effectiveness of all these games and apps and finally a "stamp" in the style of "Recommended by the Finnish Dental Association". Maybe one day it will be "Recommended by Games for Health Finland" :)
The Serious Gaming Research Lab project being run by Kajaani University of Applied Sciences has produced a guide to serious games and the development of a service model. This is worth skimming – say, in a hammock on your summer holiday. The guide (in Finnish) can be downloaded here.
And now onto the weekend jam. Kuopio felt the new winds of the HTC Vive VR. Enthusiasm is still evident at the Game Jams even though this time the jam was held during the school summer holidays. Best of all, the competitive drive was overshadowed by the teaching of others and, indeed, there is a desire to make the jams more and more simply collaborative events. Further details of the weekend jam in this bulletin.
It is said that you shouldn't climb over the fence at its lowest point, but I would hope that I could somehow still lower the threshold for participation in the jams right down to the bottom of the ditch. We now have a great "gang of regulars" who want to learn new things. There have been new people at the jams every time, but I would like a flood. So I'm hoping for tips on how to get the shyest, most timid or otherwise just hesitant to take part. In addition, I want uninvited guests there who would stimulate discussion on the spot and generate new thoughts in the minds of both the participants and the visitors themselves. So, all gatecrashers are welcome to our next jam on 14–16 October 2016!
In conjunction with the jam, the DigiKuopio idea competition was opened. I think it's great that the City is openly accepting ideas from local people on how their daily lives could be made easier through new digital solutions. I myself would have at least a few in mind. I bet that other mothers and fathers of day care-age children also have the same ideas in their minds. Hopefully, many others, too, have wilder-than-wild but practical ideas and someone will actually send them in here.
In the autumn, we will also be having our familiar and safe Games for Health Finland event. There will be more information about this before Midsummer. In any case, it's worth making a note of the date now so that you don't book anything else for that time. So, on 14 September, everyone bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to the Spa Hotel Kunnonpaikka.
I have probably forgotten half of all the nice things I know. So if I have missed out on something that I haven't yet mentioned here, hopefully you'll come and tell me. And since I'm now full of energy after my long break, I'll surely take up all the ideas that come my way. So you'd better make the most of it while you can :)Tiina Arpola