In 2015, I was in the Medical School, and noticed posters for something called Asteroid. There was a launch event to find out more about it and I decided to go along and ask if it was ok for me to come in. I was made very welcome and afterwards was invited to join the panel.
“ASTEROID – Accurate STEReotest On a mobile Device” was all about “if a game could detect and treat a potential disorder, wouldn’t you have a go? ASTEROID is a new game for children to test how well they can see depth by using a 3D mobile device”. This was aimed at children who had lazy eye or squint.
The problem - Existing stereotests are not very reliable.
Young children may not understand the test or be willing to co-operate, e.g. by wearing 3D glasses. This limits the usefulness of current stereotests.
The current tests are difficult and boring for small children. It is hard to tell whether a child has stopped responding because they have genuinely reached their limit, or because they have lost interest.
This is when I first came across the Frisby test, which has been used for some time (the test looked like a Perspex tile and you had to look for a shape in amongst the pattern). I didn’t seem to be very good at it!
About 6 of us attended the meetings, myself, researchers, adults who had had problems when young, parents whose children might benefit from the research, and occasionally children themselves!
We met every couple of months and discussed such things as leaflet design, where we could look for participants and how to engage with them, discussing how the game might be developed (we all enjoyed having a go at the various “worlds” as there are several options suitable for very young to older children) and how children might be tested (there was a session for children at the Centre for Life which was very popular!)
There were visits to local schools/workshops where the children were asked what they thought about the game and their comments were used to develop it.
ASTEROID has won awards and we even made a film about the project.
I have really enjoyed the opportunity of being involved!
To find out more about the project please click here.