SMA Youth Encouraged to Exercise With Interactive Video Game

Raft Digital Therapeutics developed web-based Cloud Bazaar with Biogen Canada

Patricia Inacio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inacio, PhD |

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Three people look at a digital tablet.

Raft Digital Therapeutics has launched a demo version of Cloud Bazaar, a therapeutic video game that promotes physical activity and exercise in children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Developed in partnership with Biogen Canada, the game aims to promote exercise adherence by turning physical activities into games and making them more fun.

“Regular therapeutic exercise is crucial for maintaining physical abilities in young SMA patients, and we are proud to introduce Cloud Bazaar as a unique online game that makes physical activity fun while also promoting social inclusivity through its diverse community of users,” Eric Tse, general manager of Biogen Canada, said in a joint press release.

The game relies on the built-in camera on the players’ computers and uses motion capture technology to track a player’s movements and integrate them into the game. Players are set on a mission to fly an airship that protects The Cloud Bazaar, dubbed “the greatest floating city in the world.” During their mission, players need to complete a series of movements that become more complex as they navigate levels of increased difficulty.

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The movements practiced during the game were designed with guidance from experts in neuromuscular conditions as well as young patients with SMA.

“The most important aspect of developing the Cloud Bazaar to us was getting active participation and feedback from young people living with SMA,” said Geoff Frost, MD, physiatrist and Raft’s CEO.

The game also allows players to invite others, with or without SMA, to play and compete, independent of each person’s ability level.

“Our intention is to build a gaming experience that’s not only physically beneficial and enriching for players, but that’s fun and engaging so they’re keen to keep integrating therapeutic exercise into their everyday lives. Their involvement was central to making this happen,” Frost said.

The demo version of Cloud Bazaar was awarded a 2022 Digital Health Awards in the Web-Based Digital Health category. It’s available in English and French and is a free, web-based game. Because it doesn’t require a console, the game doesn’t come with added costs and is accessible to a wider audience of patients and families with SMA.

“Biogen is devoted to addressing areas of unmet patient need, and our drive to innovate led us to partner with Raft to create a made-in-Canada technology that supports this rare disease community,” Tse said.

The demo works on a Windows operating system and is available for download.