Sheffield Hallam triumphs at international games awards

4th August 2023

An immersive virtual reality (VR) game that transforms painful rehabilitation into an enjoyable and effective experience for children has won Best Health Game at the prestigious Games for Change awards.

Sheffield Hallam University’s ImpactVR team collected the award for Luna’s Light in New York, USA. Fellow award winners included Lego, Bungie and Alan Gershenfeld. 

Luna's Light is an enchanting adventure designed for upper limb rehabilitation. With an immersive fantasy world and an enchanted bow, it offers an engaging way to carry out therapy at home.  

The game was co-designed with physiotherapists and patients from Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, and its intuitive mechanics combine therapy with captivating gameplay.  

Ivan Phelan, director of ImpactVR at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

“The ImpactVR team is delighted and honoured to receive the prestigious 2023 Games for Change award for Luna's Light. This recognition is a testament to the incredible collaboration we have with Sheffield Children's Hospital. We would like to especially thank the staff and the patients who helped craft this extraordinary experience to improve patient lives.” 

Professor Paul Dimitri, Professor of Child Health and Director of Research and Innovation at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Virtual reality projects, such as Luna’s Light, are producing outstanding results as a support to clinical therapies across different branches of child health and paediatrics, with potential to be just as effective in many more areas in the future. We look forward to continuing to be part of this ground-breaking work and continuing to work with the ImpactVR team.” 

Over 400 submissions for the Games for Change awards were received from around the world, and a panel of 125 judges, comprising game design and development, technology, media, learning and social impact experts, selected 10 winners in games and social change. 

Games for Change is a nonprofit organisation that promotes social impact through games and immersive media. It has been empowering game creators and innovators to drive real-world change since 2004, and celebrated its 20th anniversary with a summit at the United Nations earlier this month. 

ImpactVR is a multidisciplinary team that includes key clinical professionals and patients for each study. Its goal is to design fun experiences that reproduce clinical interventions through gameplay. 

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