Medical education video game studio LevelEx is adapting the programming of their games for the space environment to provide just-in-time learning during future journeys to Mars


Level Ex, founded in 2015, already has designed such an interface for doctors. Now, the company is adapting the programming for the space environment with the help of a grant from Translational Research Institute for Space Health, run by Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Space Medicine. The institute is funded by NASA’s Human Research Program.

The institute “is dedicated to adopting the most advanced terrestrial technologies that have the potential to address NASA’s future space health challenges,” Chief Health Innovation Officer Aenor Sawyer said in a statement. “By adapting (Level Ex’s) technology to include space conditions, we will lay the foundation for essential medical training and future real-time autonomous guidance for astronauts.”

About 500,000 medical professionals play Level Ex games on their phones, which enable them to select the type of health problem and the situation in which it arose.

They then try to solve the problem, using the same instruments that would be available to them in a hospital.

One popular case is called the “Carpenter’s Conundrum,” in which players have to remove a nail from bronchi, the body’s main passageway into the lungs.

“All the tissue behaves like it would in real life, it just runs on the phone. And it’s all 3-D,” Glassenberg said.

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