People With Paralysis Regain Control Using a Video Game

Posted by | July 09, 2015 | News | No Comments

A few years ago, Will Brierly of Cambridge, Mass. woke up in the middle of the night and wanted soda. He didn’t have any. So, he created the incredibly weird FPS (that’s “first-person soda”) game Soda Drinker Pro. Now, with some help from company Myomo, the game is helping players with physical disabilities learn how to drink soda in the real world.

Myomo (short for “my own motion”) makes custom arm braces called MyoPros that are designed to help people who have experienced arm paralysis, stroke, MS, ALS, brain or spinal cord injury, and other neuromuscular disorders. They’re kind of like prosthetic exoskeletons, and they give people with limited mobility the freedom to complete simple tasks without help. Tasks like drinking soda.

The only problem? The MyoPro can be a little hard to get used to.

That’s where Soda Drinker Pro comes in. Myomo developer Sean Halloran had the idea to put the company in contact with Will Brierly. With Will’s help, Sean adapted the bizarre, cultish Soda Drinker Pro to work with the MyoPro.

“It turns out that drinking virtual soda in Soda Drinker Pro is a great way to practice using the MyoPro,” Sean said.

Soda Drinker Pro isn’t the first game Sean’s designed for the MyoPro, but its users wanted more variety. Soda Drinker Pro has over 100 levels, each with the simple objective of simulating the act of drinking soda in various locations. It’s pretty weird, but very funny.

Watch the video below to learn more about how the MyoPro works.

Courtney Holmes

About Courtney Holmes

Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.