Seriously, these are not just games but can be used to save lives, train nurses

SINGAPORE - Mannequins offer trainee nurses hands-on practice in resuscitating a patient, but the experience can be a static one. Software developers  in Singapore have found a way to turn such conventional mannequins into “live” ones. 

Overlaying a software called Project Code Blue on a mannequin, a trainee nurse donning augmented reality goggles can see a “patient” which can blink, cough, and even turn pale and blue if the trainee takes too long to resuscitate it. 

This software is one of 15 demos at this year's Serious Games Conference, now in its fifth year. Serious games refer to a relatively new field that uses games and technology to solve real-life problems.

Organised by the non-profit Serious Games Association (SGA) (Singapore), the conference runs over two days from Monday (Nov 13) to Tuesday at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Eunos.

This is the first time the conference has come under the Lifelong Learning Festival, organised by the Lifelong Learning Council. The council was set up by the then Singapore Workforce Development Agency, now supported by SkillsFuture Singapore.

Serious games differ from those meant for entertainment, said SGA (Singapore) president Ivan Boo, as they have to follow precise steps and stay true to real-world applications.

"Every single step executed in the game follows procedures taught to the nurses," said Mr Boo. "You can't deviate from that. The challenge is to take that and make it interesting and fun to learn, through games."

Serious games are today used most commonly in healthcare, said Mr Boo, although there is growing interest in them in the education, defence and security sectors.

Project Code Blue was developed by Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in partnership with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre.

Assistant nurse clinician Siti Zainah Rian, who demonstrated how the game works, said: "It provides a more realistic and immersive learning experience for the trainee, with visual, tactile and kinaesthetic feedback."

Another game on display at the conference is one used for neonatal resuscitation, developed by clinicians at the Singapore General Hospital.

The Web-based simulation game tests doctors, nurses and paramedics on the procedure for the emergency treatment of premature babies. Users have to click on equipment and show how they would use it during resuscitation, which lets them refresh their knowledge in a simulated setting.