Next Level Health: How Games Improve Health and Healthcare

Please join us for an evening conference on gaming and health featuring key players from the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Learn how games can improve personal health and be applied to healthcare.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


October 14, 2011 from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)

Sure, computer games are fun, but that does not mean they can’t also have important health benefits. In fact, hospitals, doctors, and researchers today are collaborating with creative game developers worldwide. And games can now be used to train our brains, assist doctors and nurses, motivate rehabilitation, and help keep us fit.

The evening’s program will showcase some of the most innovative applied games currently being used for health and healthcare purposes.

Designing health games that are appealing, engaging, and impactful is both an art and a science. Hear from representatives of the Applied Game Design research program in the Netherlands and meet the researchers and developers behind the YouGrabber glove and Gabarello, a therapeutic game developed for a physiotherapy robot. Learn how a neurofeedback game helps children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and how another helps to improve memory. Get a peek at what a surgery training game
 soon to be released on Nintendo looks like, and learn how health gaming is now a burgeoning field in Canada, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. After the presentations, try out some of the games yourself, explore the exhibition, and exchange ideas with the speakers and each other.

This event is organized by swissnex San Francisco, the Netherlands Consulate General in San Francisco, and the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco.


5:30 pm  doors open
6:00 pm  presentations and Q & A
7:30 pm  game demos, exhibition viewing, reception, and networking
9:30 pm  doors close


Chris Bertram

Dr. Chris Bertram is Director of the Human Performance Centre at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Bertram’s area of expertise is in human motor learning and control. Currently, he is involved in a variety of research endeavors with a primary focus on novel intervention programs for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). In addition, he and his colleagues have begun to incorporate a therapeutic video games component to the program, which is driven partially by EEG neurofeedback signals. He is network investigator for NeuroDevNet, which is funded through the Canadian Network Centres of Excellence.


Kynan Eng

Kynan Eng studied mechanical engineering and computer science at Monash University in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. He is now a research group leader at the Institute of Neuroinformatics at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, where he is investigating the mechanisms through which virtual reality environments can affect human behavior and learning. In 2009 and 2010, he co-founded and sits on the board of two spin-off companies: iniLabs, which develops neurotechnological products, and YouRehab, which sells interactive rehabilitation systems.


Florian Faller

Florian Faller is a lecturer and researcher at the Zurich University of the Arts in the field of game design with a focus on visual design and game culture. The Zurich University of the Arts developed GABARELLO v1.0, a playable physiotherapeutic game for the rehabilitation robot “Lokomat®” to train children with lower body motor loss, in cooperation with the University Children’s Hospital Zurich, the Institute for Neuropsychology (University of Zurich) and the Sensory Motor Systems Lab (ETH Zurich).


Tim Laning

Tim Laning co-founded the 
award winning Dutch serious game company Grendel Games in 2003. Medical serious games where added as a focal point as early as 
2005, marking the beginning of a strong business relationship with rehabilitation technology company Motek
Medical. Grendel Games creates games focusing on physical and mental rehabilitation, improvement of surgical training
, and medical education for universities, hospitals, and rehabilitation institutes. 

Grendel Games is the first company to work with hospitals to create a laparoscopic surgery training game
 to be released on Nintendo consoles in 2012.

 Laning encouraged the founding of Gameship, The Netherlands’ largest serious game development media lab.


Jeroen van Mastrigt-Ide

Jeroen van Mastrigt-Ide is chairman of the board of the Dutch Game Garden (DGG). DGG consists of a business center and an incubator supporting over 35 starting and established Dutch game development companies. He is an independent international pioneer, consultant, and speaker in the field of social innovation and technology focusing on applied game design for healthcare & well-being. Van Mastrigt-Ide is on the advisory board of Games for Health Europe. He was dean of the Utrecht school of art & technology, and professor and research director at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU). He designed and developed Europe’s first bachelor and master programs in game design and applied game design, set up the Applied Game Design research program at HKU, and worked with his R&D team on numerous state-of-the-art game based R&D projects.


Maria Ly

Maria is an ardent propagator of the youth entrepreneur culture in Canada and beyond. She has applied her passion for fitness to technology and revolutionized the mobile fitness movement – inspiring others to live well and making health and fitness more accessible than ever before.
A graduate of the Computer Engineering program from the University of Waterloo, Maria co-founded Skimble – a mobile healthcare and fitness startup whose “Workout Trainer” application provides on-demand personal training workouts and is ranked highly in health & fitness for iPhone/iPad/Android. Maria understands the challenges of being fit and has been helping others achieve their fitness goals one click at a time. The application is powering the mobile fitness movement through a cross-platform ecosystem of fun, dynamic and social coaching applications for everyone who wants to live well.
Follow Maria Ly on Twitter: @marialy

More information

Throughout the month of October, swissnex shows the exhibition Swiss Game Design, which was designed and implemented on behalf of Pro Helvetia by House of Electronic Arts Basel. The exhibition is part of Pro Helvetia’s GameCulture, which aims to draw attention to the social, economic, and aesthetic aspects of computer games and explores the characteristics of the genre as a new art form.

The exhibition in San Francisco and the related events are made possible by the US-wide program ThinkSwiss-Brainstorm the Future. As a leading country in science, research, and technology, Switzerland is working with its American counterparts to address key global topics such as sustainability to better understand trends and arrive at solutions.


The evening’s discussion will be followed by a professional-only roundtable on the morning of October 14th to deepen the dialogue. If you are working on gaming in health projects and would like to join, please contact:


Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos