Allergenious

Compared to what we know about the human body today, centuries ago we had little understanding of how it works and what makes us who we are. But even after we found answers to many mysteries about ourselves we realised that we couldn’t really grasp and visualise many things that happen inside our bodies. Imagination and creative representation are often required to fully understand how things work and why they work that way.

Allergenious is an example of how learning about complex processes in our bodies could be simplified and done with fun. It is an interactive game for people of all ages that demonstrates how immune cells may react to various allergens entering human body. Through fun and exploratory interactions the game allows its players to understand how allergies work and how they occur.

Not everyone has allergies, and even those of us who do have allergies are most often allergic to only one or two things. In our game it is the player’s task to find out if the “patient” is allergic to any of the allergens we introduced in the game. If player finds an allergen that makes the immune cell raise a false alarm in the body, the patient starts sneezing and displays other common allergic reaction symptoms like red itchy eyes and runny nose. We also allow players to stop these symptoms by applying the medicine to the immune cell.

This project was a part of the physical computing course. Arduino Yun was used for controlling the backend electronics required to make the face react with the game controls. Our main challenge was how to effectively educate the players about allergies.  We started by making a face from paper sheet, then we integrated the electronics within the face. During the whole process, we iterated and refined the concept several times, which allowed us to make it more engaging for the players.