The BfB Labs is a new social venture created by Shift that sets out to bring Emotionally Responsive Gaming (ERG) to the world. These games respond to players’ emotions and reward those who can master them. They challenge players physically, mentally and emotionally and, unlike other games, effectively train players in key aspects of emotional control, building resilience and promoting wellbeing.
BfB Labs first title is Champions of the Shengha, a fantasy card battling game played with the BfB Sensor – an ear clip monitor that measures users’ emotional state by tracking their heart rate variability (HRV). The game challenges you to defeat your opponents with a combination of strategy and self control on the way to becoming the ultimate Shengha warrior.
Through regular play, users master powerful skills of emotional control. These skills equip them to cope and thrive within the game and beyond it, improving their capacity to deal with stress, anxiety and frustration and be at their best.
“We need healthy, creative and resilient children who know how to maintain wellbeing and can manage stress, judge risks and embrace failure as part of the learning process. It’s essential that we find ways of engaging young people with their technologies in order to do this.”
Charlotte Berry, Deputy Head Teacher, The Billericay School
Half of common mental health disorders in the UK start by the age of 14 and ultimately affect 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives. By teaching young people the skills to regulate their emotions, you can increase their well-being which protects against the development of mental health problems.
“When I’m in an argument I don’t feel right, I sometimes feel like I’m in a different planet, on a different world. When I did breathing I’d learnt in the game, I calmed down, came back to earth“
Over the last two years, the BfB Labs team has run 5 trials with groups of between 10 and 90 young players aged 10-15, which have demonstrated that our games effectively train players to manage their emotional state through diaphragmatic breathing. Findings from the largest trial run in early 2016 include:
- Players spent on average 26 minutes per play session focusing on breathing
- Over 4 in 5 participants were able to reliably double their heart rate variability, spending 40% of focused breathing time over this threshold
- 3 in 4 reported getting better at staying calm and focused within the game
- 1 in 4 reported they had already started applying these techniques outside of the game by the end of the trial
- 2 in 3 participants would recommend the game to a friend
September 26, 2016
An evaluation report describing the results of the five trials of Shift’s emotionally responsive biofeedback video game, conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the game in training emotional regulation skills through regulated diaphragmatic breathing, as well as measure levels of enjoyment and stickiness.
Building Resilience through Emotionally Responsive Gaming: Findings from a biofeedback video game RCT
September 21, 2016
An evaluation report describing the results of a randomised control trial run with 290 young people in The Billericay School, Essex.
Building Resilience through Emotionally Responsive Gaming: Findings from a biofeedback video game trial at St Angela’s Ursuline School
September 20, 2016
An evaluation report describing a trial with 30 girls at St Angela’s Ursuline secondary School, Newham, East London.
December 1, 2015
An evaluation report describing the results of a test of BfB’s biofeedback video game with two primary schools in Hackney, London.
March 20, 2015
March 18, 2015
An evaluation report describing the results of the first test of Shift’s biofeedback video game, which uses the player’s heart rate to reward players for staying calm under pressure.
Kathleen Collett and Naomi Stoll
March 1, 2014
February 2, 2014
Outlining the scale and impact of mental health, who is most at risk, and the argument for focusing on wellbeing
February 1, 2014
Stuff Innovators 2014: Health
Stuff Magazine, 25th October 2014
Charities help fill gaps in children’s mental health services
Guardian, 10 September 2014
A smartphone game to beat the blues
Sunday Express, August 10, 2014
Google just backed some new smart glasses…
Tech Radar, 31 July 2014
British charities to get £3.2m Google windfall
Telegraph, 18 July 2014
How would you change the world with half a million pounds?
Guardian, 18 July, 2014
An international research agency with specialisms in gaming and digital research. 2CV have been involved in game testing and evaluation, bringing the rigorous games research used by larger game manufacturers to the project.
Billericay School, Essex - The initial prototype of the video game is being tested with 60 13 year olds at the Billericay School over a six week period