Developed by Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine, the game utilizes movement and an immersive gaming environment to target stroke. Clinical trials suggest the game is equal to or better than conventional occupational therapy. Studies are also being undertaken to investigate whether the game would also be helpful to patients with traumatic brain injury, dementia and other neurological conditions.
Gameplay involves moving Bandit the dolphin around the screen to eat fish, although an earlier version, released for the Apple TV in 2015, includes shark battles. The movements in the game are based on real-life sea creatures, which creators observed at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland.
While the full therapeutic potential and limits of MindPod are not yet known, patients have certainly enjoyed the game. Looking at the bigger picture, this research may lead to this and similar neuroanimation projects becoming a more widespread treatment option for stroke patients.