Author Archive

December 16, 2012

Project : Final Video

Hey guys,

this is the final video for our project Sketch-hi-5…. Hope you like it…. 🙂

Neelima S.

December 4, 2012



Our poster.

December 3, 2012

Playing video games helps adults with lazy eye

Playing video games helps adults with lazy eye

By Sarah Yang, Media Relations | August 31, 2011

BERKELEY —Here are some words that few would have thought to put together: video game therapy. Yet, a pilot study by vision researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that playing video games can help improve the vision of adults with amblyopia, or lazy eye.

The study found that participants experienced marked improvement in visual acuity and 3-D depth perception after spending just 40 hours playing off-the-shelf video games.

“This study is the first to show that video game play is useful for improving blurred vision in adults with amblyopia,” said study lead author Dr. Roger Li, research optometrist at the School of Optometry and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley. “I was very surprised by this finding; I didn’t expect to see this type of improvement.”

For those who might use these findings to argue for more game time, note that no studies have shown similar benefits for people with normal vision.

The study is published in the August 2011 issue of the journal PLoS Biologyand is freely available online.

Amblyopia, a brain disorder in which the vision in one eye does not develop properly, is the most frequent cause of permanent visual impairment in childhood, affecting two to three of every 100 children, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). It is also the most common cause of one-eye visual impairment among young and middle-aged adults.

While amblyopia in children can be successfully treated through occlusion therapy – putting a patch over the “good eye” to force the brain to use the weaker “lazy eye” – few options are available for adults with this condition.

“These new findings are very encouraging because there are currently no accepted treatments for adults with amblyopia,” said study principal investigator Dr. Dennis Levi, UC Berkeley professor and dean of optometry and a researcher at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. “A lot of eye doctors start closing the books on successful treatment after age 8 or so because of the widespread belief that amblyopia can only be reversed during a critical window of development in the visual cortex. If the disorder is not corrected in childhood, the damage was thought to be irreversible.”

But recent studies on perceptual learning, including those authored by Levi and Li, have dispelled the notion that no vision improvements are possible in adult amblyopes. They found that intensive training on a perceptual task, such as getting two horizontal lines aligned, could lead to a 30-40 percent improvement in visual acuity.

“We had people spending 50 hours practicing an admittedly boring task, so it took a lot for the subjects to stay engaged,” said Levi. “It also turns out that the improvements in perceptual learning are often task-specific, so subjects who learned to align horizontal lines could not immediately align the lines when they were flipped vertically.”

The researchers wanted to see if playing a video game, with its richer variety of stimuli, could lead to the same visual improvements for amblyopes that were seen with the more mundane visual tasks.

In the new study, which was funded by the NEI, the researchers used an action video game, which required subjects to shoot at targets, as well as a non-action game, which required users to construct something. There were a total of 20 subjects with amblyopia, ages 15 to 61, in the study.

In the first experiment, 10 participants played the action video game for a total of 40 hours, two hours at a time, over the course of a month. In a second experiment, three other participants played the non-action video game for the same amount of time. While they were playing video games, participants wore a patch over their good eye.

Both experiments yielded a 30 percent increase in visual acuity, or an average improvement of 1.5 lines on the standard letter chart used by optometrists. In comparison, it can take 120 hours of occlusion therapy to see a one-line improvement on the letter chart in children with amblyopia, the authors said.

Performance was measured after every 10 hours of gaming, the researchers noted, and some subjects started improving earlier than 40 hours.

To verify that the results were specific to video game playing and not due to the use of the eye patch, the researchers conducted a third experiment in which seven participants wore a patch over their good eye for 20 hours during their normal daily activities, such as watching television, reading books and surfing the Internet. At the end of the 20 hours, they showed no improvement on the vision tests. Those same subjects were then asked to wear a patch while playing video games for 40 hours, and when tested, showed the same level of improvement as the other study participants.

Among the 20 study participants, half had strabismic amblyopia, marked by misaligned or crossed eyes. Six had anisometropic amblyopia, in which the two eyes have significantly different prescriptions. Another three had both conditions, and one subject had amblyopia caused by cataracts in one eye.

The study found no significant difference in visual acuity improvement among the different types of amblyopia. However, anisometropic subjects also saw a 50 percent improvement in 3-D depth perception after 40 hours of playing video games.

Li noted that the subjects who started off playing a non-action video game continued to improve after playing the action video game for an additional 40 hours. “It is not clear, yet, when vision improvement might plateau,” he said. “But it’s likely that those who have severe amblyopia will take longer to show improvement, but those patients also have the most room for improvement.”

Li also cautioned that the research on video game therapy for amblyopia is still in its early stages, and that patients should not attempt to “self-treat” their amblyopia. “People definitely need to work with their eye doctors,” he said.

“Playing a video game is a lot more fun than just wearing a patch, so the hope is that compliance is likely to be higher among kids,” said Levi. “Wearing a patch can be socially awkward for some kids, so our hope is to see faster improvement by having them do an intensive task like playing a video game.”

The results of this pilot study are so encouraging that Levi received a three-year, $1.7 million NEI grant to compare video game therapy with the use of patches to treat amblyopia in children and adults in a randomized clinical trial. For that study, which will be conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, the researchers will use customized video games that are non-violent and child-friendly.

“We didn’t think it was a good idea to have a 5-year-old blowing things up,” said Levi.

December 2, 2012

Play As a Growth Process, By Barbara Biber

What do we have in mind when we think of play? What do children do when they play? Children’s play has the quality of intense, absorbing experience, a bit of life lived richly and fully. There is zest and wonder and drama and a special kind of immediacy, that is without thought for the passing of time. There is nothing to be accomplished, no sense of what is right or wrong to check the flow of spontaneity, no direction to follow. Whatever is at hand can become the suitable materials for play. The essence of the play experience is subjective, something within the child that may not necessarily become obvious to the one who observes the course or the form of his activity.

Play as an activity may take any one of numberless forms. It may be just physical activity, an overflow of energy, of exuberance. Besides running, skipping, hopping children like to slide, see-saw and swing. Although these play experiences require a degree of patterning in coordination they belong among the natural playful uses which a child makes of his body. If his play is as free as his energy is boundless, he is likely to embroider the basic patterns: he soon finds it more fun to hop on one foot, to slide down on his belly instead of his bottom, to swing standing up.

Playing may be something quite different from the lively expression of physical energies. It may take quiet delicate forms such as playing with sounds and words. The chanting of younger children, the nonsense rhyming of the older ones are play forms.

The child is playing when, with his hands, he impresses himself on things around him. He pounds the clay and smears the paint. He creates with blocks even when he is only stacking them high or lining them up low. He makes the mud take shape. He fits things together and takes them apart. There is pleasure and satisfaction in what one’s hands can make of the physical world and the child, in his playful re-making of the world around him, lays the cornerstone of his feeling about himself in relation to that world.

Now we come to the world of play that is most challenging and enticing: dramatic play. Here the child can take flight. He needs no longer be a child. He can make himself over and be a wolf or an engineer or a mother or a baby who is crying. He can re-create the world not only as he really experiences it but even in the strange aspects that symbolize some of his deepest wishes and fears. It is this kind of play — or rather the values that it has for growth — that I would like to talk about most today.

What do play experiences do for child growth? If a child can have a really full wholesome experience with play, he will be having the most wholesome kind of fun that a child can have. For a child to have fun is basic to his future happiness. His early childhood play may become the basic substance out of which he lays down one of his life patterns, namely, not only that one can have fun but that one can create fun. Most of us as adults enjoy only a watered-down manufactured kind of fun — going to the movies, shopping, listening to a concert, or seeing a baseball game and do not feel secure that some of the deepest resources for happiness lie within ourselves, free of a price of admission. This is one of these securities that compose a positive attitude toward life, in general.

In dramatic play, children also find a sense of confidence in their own impulses. There are no directions to follow, no rules to stick to. Whatever they do will be good and right. Wherever their impulses lead them, that is the way to follow. This is the freedom children should have in their play, an absence of boundaries and prescriptions that we cannot grant them outside of their play lives.

Another important by-product of play is the feeling of strength it yields to the child, a relief from the feelings of powerlessness and helplessness that many children feel keenly as junior members of our well-ordered adult world. In play we give them an opportunity to counter-act this powerlessness to a degree. It is the child’s chance to lay plans, to judge what is best, to create the sequence of events. Dramatic play is one of the basic ways in which children can try out their talents for structuring life. The fact that they deal with symbols rathers than realities does not detract from the sense of mastery.

As you watch children playing, you see the ingredients of the child world spread out before you, differing in complexity and elaboration according to the level of maturity. When a two or three year old plays train, he does so simply. The train goes. It makes sounds. Just a block and a child saying “choo” may be Johnnie’s idea of a train but very soon he meets up with Mary who has been very much impressed with the odd way that people sit in trains, looking at each other’s backs. To another child in the group a train is not a train unless it whistles. Soon, a composite train emerges: it goes, it says “Choo,” it whistles intermittently, people sit in it one behind the other. Children, at all levels, pool their ideas in free dramatic play, expose each other to new impressions, stimulate each other to new wondering and questioning. Can we fail to recognize this process as learning? Can we neglect to notice that here is learning going on in a social atmosphere full of pleasure and delight? In re-living and freely dramatizing his experience the child is thinking at his own pace with other children. He is learning in the best possible way.

More than that, the ways of the world are becoming delicious to him. He is tasting and re-tasting life in his own terms and finding it full of delight and interest. He projects his own pattern of the world into the play and in so doing, brings the real world closer to himself. He is building the feeling that the world is his, to understand, to interpret, to puzzle about, to make over. For the future, we need citizens in whom these attitudes are deeply ingrained.

We would be seriously in error, however, were we to assume that all play of young children is clear and logical. Horses are more likely to eat lamb stew than hay and what starts out to be a boat often ends as a kitchen stove without any obviously clear transitions. Often when play violates the line of adult logic we can see that it has a special kind of coherence all its own — perhaps the coherence of an action rather than a thinking pattern. Playing dentist may take the form of sitting on a keg and whirling one’s feet around because the wonderful dentist’s chair is the outstanding recall for the child. Teeth and drills may be altogether omitted while the child accentuates through his play what impressed him most. It makes sense in child terms even though it may not to the adult who is told that the children are playing dentist when what meets the eye looks like a crowd of whirling Dervishes. To understand children’s play we must loose our imaginations from the restrictions of adultness and the limitations of logic that is tied in within literalness and objective reality.

If free play is to yield these values in terms of children’s growth needs, it requires a skilled guiding hand, especially where children are collected in groups as they are in nursery schools. There is a way of setting the stage and creating an atmosphere for spontaneous play. Most important in this atmosphere is the teacher’s sensitive understanding of her own role. Sometimes the teacher needs to be ready to guide the play, especially among the fives, sixes and sevens, into channels that are beyond the needs of the nursery years. But she must guide only in terms of the children’s growth needs. Her guidance may be in terms of her choice of stories, materials, trips, experiences. It may function through discussions. Without skillful guidance, a free play program for successive years can become stultified and disturbing to children.

One of the main problems with respect to play which we are working through as teachers is — How much shall the teacher get involved in the children’s play? Shall she correct, suggest, contribute, participate? I don’t have the answer, but I hope teachers will continue to think about and talk about this problem. We have left behind the stage of education in which the teacher was relegated to the background. We have still to discover what are the optimal points at which the teacher can step in, offering new material, or ideas to enrich the play. In our teacher training institutes we encourage teachers to have imagination and use it but if you teach this too well, the teachers themselves (and this goes for parents, too) will be expressing themselves in the play, and before you know it they will have taken away the play from the child. This, naturally, is closely related to teacher personality. Some people intuitively know when it is best to withdraw and take a passive role, when a new idea will not be an intrusion and when stimulation had best be indirect. It behooves us all as teachers to think: are we becoming so active that the children are overwhelmed and restricted by the flood of our bright ideas?

Day in, day out, we affect children’s play by the things we provide for them to play with. We choose equipment and materials with care and thought and have accepted the premise that a good share of play materials should be of the “raw” variety — things like clay, blocks, paper, mud which the child can freely shape to his own purposes and upon which he can impress his own pattern. These are in contrast to the finished dolls and trains, trucks and doll dishes which come in finished form and are adapted, as established symbols, into the flow of the child’s free play. One of the interesting questions in education today has to do with what balance shall be kept between raw and finished materials, recognizing that each kind serves a different function with respect to play and may meet varying needs of different individual children. This is an area for study and experimentation in which we have made only a fair beginning.

To return briefly to the point that children’s play cannot always be understood from the vantage point of logic and realistic accuracy. The inner coherence of play is as often based on emotion as it is on logic or action. If it seems incomprehensible, rambling or slightly insane it is because we cannot read the deep emotional life of children, because we do not understand adquately how feeling can transform thought, at all ages.

We know that children are full of feeling — deep and good, hard and strong feeling. They get mad and glad with intensity. Their feelings are as quick, as volatile as they are deep. This vital aspect of their life experience needs outlet through play quite as much as their developing curiosities and their effervescent energies. Many of us who can accept play as a child’s way of interpreting life intellectually, often stop short at allowing children full freedom in expressing the feeling aspects of their lives. Or else we make the error of thinking of emotional expression of this kind in terms of negative feeling, of avoiding repression of hostility and such. This, to be sure, is an important aspect of wholesome growth. The chance to express negative feeling through play can save the child considerable anguish. The dolls he is allowed to hit leave him more able to face his real life troubles successfully.

But there is the positive aspect of a child’s emotional life which should not be overlooked. Covering the doll lovingly with layers of blankets is as deep and important an experience as the smacking and the spanking. What we must remember through all of this is that the child does not necessarily play out what his actual experience has been. He may instead be playing out the residue of feeling which his experience has left with him — quite another dimension, psychologically. It has been possible only to indicate this latter point briefly.

Summing up, we can say that play serves two different growth needs in the early years — learning about the world by playing about it (realizing reality) and finding an outlet for complex and often conflicting emotions (wherein reality and logic are secondary). We, the adults, need to understand this process more deeply than we do and to continue to improve our techniques for providing experiences through play be means of which the child can freely express feeling and creatively master reality.

Originally published in: Vassar Alumnae Magazine, 37(2), December 1951.

November 26, 2012

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Playing Video Games

November 26, 2012

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Playing Video Games

Paste a Video URL

November 21, 2012

Game + Medicine = Innovation

A cool way to help doctors learn…..!!!!! Its a game that doctors could use to help deal with sepsis by gaining more experience….

November 20, 2012

Prisoner’s Dilemma :: An example of the application of Game Theory

Tucker began with a little story, like this: two burglars, Bob and Al, are captured near the scene of a burglary and are given the “third degree” separately by the police. Each has to choose whether or not to confess and implicate the other. If neither man confesses, then both will serve one year on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. If each confesses and implicates the other, both will go to prison for 10 years. However, if one burglar confesses and implicates the other, and the other burglar does not confess, the one who has collaborated with the police will go free, while the other burglar will go to prison for 20 years on the maximum charge.

The strategies in this case are: confess or don’t confess. The payoffs (penalties, actually) are the sentences served. We can express all this compactly in a “payoff table” of a kind that has become pretty standard in game theory. Here is the payoff table for the Prisoners’ Dilemma game:

Table 3-1



    confess don’t
Bob confess 10,10 0,20
don’t 20,0 1,1


The table is read like this: Each prisoner chooses one of the two strategies. In effect, Al chooses a column and Bob chooses a row. The two numbers in each cell tell the outcomes for the two prisoners when the corresponding pair of strategies is chosen. The number to the left of the comma tells the payoff to the person who chooses the rows (Bob) while the number to the right of the column tells the payoff to the person who chooses the columns (Al). Thus (reading down the first column) if they both confess, each gets 10 years, but if Al confesses and Bob does not, Bob gets 20 and Al goes free.

So: how to solve this game? What strategies are “rational” if both men want to minimize the time they spend in jail? Al might reason as follows: “Two things can happen: Bob can confess or Bob can keep quiet. Suppose Bob confesses. Then I get 20 years if I don’t confess, 10 years if I do, so in that case it’s best to confess. On the other hand, if Bob doesn’t confess, and I don’t either, I get a year; but in that case, if I confess I can go free. Either way, it’s best if I confess. Therefore, I’ll confess.”

But Bob can and presumably will reason in the same way — so that they both confess and go to prison for 10 years each. Yet, if they had acted “irrationally,” and kept quiet, they each could have gotten off with one year each.


Dominant Strategies

What has happened here is that the two prisoners have fallen into something called a “dominant strategy equilibrium.”

DEFINITION Dominant Strategy: Let an individual player in a game evaluate separately each of the strategy combinations he may face, and, for each combination, choose from his own strategies the one that gives the best payoff. If the same strategy is chosen for each of the different combinations of strategies the player might face, that strategy is called a “dominant strategy” for that player in that game.

DEFINITION Dominant Strategy Equilibrium: If, in a game, each player has a dominant strategy, and each player plays the dominant strategy, then that combination of (dominant) strategies and the corresponding payoffs are said to constitute the dominant strategy equilibrium for that game.

In the Prisoners’ Dilemma game, to confess is a dominant strategy, and when both prisoners confess, that is a dominant strategy equilibrium.


Issues With Respect to the Prisoners’ Dilemma

This remarkable result — that individually rational action results in both persons being made worse off in terms of their own self-interested purposes — is what has made the wide impact in modern social science. For there are many interactions in the modern world that seem very much like that, from arms races through road congestion and pollution to the depletion of fisheries and the overexploitation of some subsurface water resources. These are all quite different interactions in detail, but are interactions in which (we suppose) individually rational action leads to inferior results for each person, and the Prisoners’ Dilemma suggests something of what is going on in each of them. That is the source of its power.

Having said that, we must also admit candidly that the Prisoners’ Dilemma is a very simplified and abstract — if you will, “unrealistic” — conception of many of these interactions. A number of critical issues can be raised with the Prisoners’ Dilemma, and each of these issues has been the basis of a large scholarly literature:


  • The Prisoners’ Dilemma is a two-person game, but many of the applications of the idea are really many-person interactions.
  • We have assumed that there is no communication between the two prisoners. If they could communicate and commit themselves to coordinated strategies, we would expect a quite different outcome.
  • In the Prisoners’ Dilemma, the two prisoners interact only once. Repetition of the interactions might lead to quite different results.
  • Compelling as the reasoning that leads to the dominant strategy equilibrium may be, it is not the only way this problem might be reasoned out. Perhaps it is not really the most rational answer after all.
November 19, 2012

Game Theory :: The mathematics of games

Game theory is a distinct and interdisciplinary approach to the study of human behavior. The disciplines most involved in game theory are mathematics, economics and the other social and behavioral sciences. Game theory (like computational theory and so many other contributions) was founded by the great mathematician John von Neumann. The first important book was The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, which von Neumann wrote in collaboration with the great mathematical economist, Oskar Morgenstern. Certainly Morgenstern brought ideas from neoclassical economics into the partnership, but von Neumann, too, was well aware of them and had made other contributions to neoclassical economics.

A Scientific Metaphor

Since the work of John von Neumann, “games” have been a scientific metaphor for a much wider range of human interactions in which the outcomes depend on the interactive strategies of two or more persons, who have opposed or at best mixed motives. Among the issues discussed in game theory are

1) What does it mean to choose strategies “rationally” when outcomes depend on the strategies chosen by others and when information is incomplete?

2) In “games” that allow mutual gain (or mutual loss) is it “rational” to cooperate to realize the mutual gain (or avoid the mutual loss) or is it “rational” to act aggressively in seeking individual gain regardless of mutual gain or loss?

3) If the answers to 2) are “sometimes,” in what circumstances is aggression rational and in what circumstances is cooperation rational?

4) In particular, do ongoing relationships differ from one-off encounters in this connection?

5) Can moral rules of cooperation emerge spontaneously from the interactions of rational egoists?

6) How does real human behavior correspond to “rational” behavior in these cases?

7) If it differs, in what direction? Are people more cooperative than would be “rational?” More aggressive? Both?

Thus, among the “games” studied by game theory are

Barbarians at the Gate
Battle of the Networks
Caveat Emptor
Escape and Evasion
Frogs Call for Mates
Hawk versus Dove
Mutually Assured Destruction
Majority Rule
Market Niche
Mutual Defense
Prisoner’s Dilemma
Subsidized Small Business
Tragedy of the Commons
Video System Coordination

November 8, 2012


Hey guyz….. this is the intro video to our drawing game : Sketch-hi-5…. 🙂

Neelima Sailaja, ShriHari Murlidharan and Arun Padmanabhan Narasimhan