How mobile games are saving astronauts

One of the benefits of space exploration is how it brings so many unique industries together to solve some of our biggest challenges.

In an effort to keep humans healthy on the way to Mars, with little to no support from Earth, the Translational Research Institute for Space Health, is developing a radical new approach to healthcare in an effort to solve one of microgravity’s most painful side effects: Kidney Stones.

A diagnosis that usually requires surgery, and there’s no ER in space. At least not yet…that’s a hint NBC. Low gravity environments cause a reduction in bone mass and muscle tissue, pushing excess calcium to the kidneys, resulting in extremely painful stones passing through the urinary tract. This alone could halt our progress to the inner planets.

Fourteen ISS crew  members have developed the syndrome in the last 5 years, and with longer missions on the horizon – solving this is a priority – and gaming is the answer.

At the intersection of medicine and entertainment, Level Ex is paving the way for the future of health care in far away environments. “On the way to Mars it’s likely there’ll be a physician on board but Murphy’s Law says it’s going to be the doctor who gets sick,” said Dorit Donoviel.

Providing medical training through a game, gives everyone the ability to help in an emergency…in space, or on Earth. Over the next year, the institute will work with Level Ex to develop instructional games that reproduce the effects of zero gravity, radiation and different gasses that impact the body in space.

This opens the door for an entirely new generation of doctors, gamers and creative technologists to redefine how we care for ourselves and others.

Glassenberg, one of the Level Ex developers said, “It’s one of the most exciting projects he’s ever worked on in his life!”