Saturday, August 25, 2012

iPad app: CountBattle

CountBattle App
CountBattle app on iTunes ($0.99, sometimes free)

What it is: A very simple sequencing game: you get circles numbered consecutively from 1 to 15, and you simply have to tap them in order, the main objective being to do it the fastest you can. There's 3 levels (easy, normal and hard). The easy level spreads the numbered circles throughout the screen and doesn't move them. Normal and hard levels involve random repositioning of the circles as you play. If you tap outside a circle or in the wrong order, you get moved back one number (so if you were on "7" and tapped "13" by mistake, you're now on "6").

You can play on your own, or two people can simultaneously play in split screen. See screenshots on right. The first screenshot shows the game with one player; the numbers that have been selected in order are dimmed, and the ones still to be tapped are brighter. The screenshot below it shows the game in split screen, where two sequences of 1-15 numbers are presented, one in reddish tones, one in bluish.

How we can use it in Tx: I envision it as a useful activity for any number of executive function, field neglect and aphasia related goals. For most patients you'd probably use the easy level (where numbers stay put) and full screen ("one player"). For more advanced patients you could use the normal level where numbers reposition randomly. Since there's no time limit on this task (you try to get the best time possible, but there's no limit in how long one takes) the more difficult level--while definitely a complex task--is still usable. You can also up the complexity of the task by asking the pt to play in split screen ("2 players") in easy mode (numbers don't move around).

Goals we can target with this app: scanning, sequencing, number recognition, field neglect, direction following, focus, and divided attention.

Some specific examples:

1. For a divided attention goal select 2 players for a split-screen task, and set it on easy level. The numbers for each side of the screen point towards the edge they are near (see the screenshot on the right: the two sets of numbers are right-side-up for the side of the screen they are on). Decide how you want to play the game (either set the iPad in a way that all the numbers are on their sides, but none are upside down, or let one of the colors be upside down and count that as another level of complexity for this task). Ask the pt to proceed on both sets at the same pace (so tap "1" on blues, then "1" on reds; then "2" on blues, then "2" on reds, etc.). A more complex version would be to do a few at a time (in 3's for example, doing 1-3 on blues, same on reds, then 4-6 on each, etc.). There's many variations.

2. For a simple scanning (or sequencing, or number recognition) task ask the pt to play the game in simplest mode (easy level, 1 player) and then try to beat their own time on a 2nd or 3rd attempt.

3. Brain-training: for the regular (not rehab-patient) population, playing any of these levels, trying to get the best time, is good scanning and memory practice. The non-disordered player is likely to scan the screen quickly and mental-note where the numbers are so as to play faster. I find it fun and challenging myself.


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