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Sustained attention and memory training, two of the nine games that will make up the Empower application.

The Empower project has presented two of the nine games that will be developed by the project in order to work on executive functions with children with neurodevelopmental disorders: the Sustained Attention Game and the Memory Training Game.

Game Release

Two of the nine games

May 3rd, 2023




The initiative aims to help students with neurodevelopmental conditions and will design different training materials and carry out several scientific studies aimed at demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed solution.

The Sustained Attention Game is based on a comprehensive continuous task designed to improve sustained attention function. This game will train the cognitive system to activate and maintain attention at an optimal level for extended periods of time, while inhibiting the response system.

The task consists of a long series of sequentially presented stimuli in which the participant must respond as quickly as possible only when a pre-specified target is presented, while withholding responses to other stimuli appearing on the screen.

This activity has three levels with three sub-levels each, where the main target is always a specific mushroom and the distracters change depending on the level. In addition, the position in which the stimuli can appear is different depending on the selected sublevel. Possible distractors include flowers, small branches, butterflies and other types of mushrooms.

The app monitors the child’s performance, measuring correct and incorrect responses both when the target is present and when it is not, and the response time for each trial (then calculating the average response time for the game).

As for the Memory Training Game, it is based on tasks that train the ability to dynamically modify memory content according to task requests. The proposal will assess and train children’s working memory by asking them to remember the sequence in which peppers change their colour from green to yellow in a set of pepper plants.

The first of the main tasks involved in the game is to sort the ripe peppers into the correct basket according to their quality: the pepper with worm should go into a specific basket to be cut and cleaned for later use, while the good pepper (without worm) should be collected in another basket to be sold later at the market.

Therefore, in the first task, the child should select the correct basket where the pepper should be picked to separate the good and bad peppers for the market. This should be done while the child is concentrating on the order in which the peppers change their colour to yellow.

The second of the main tasks is based on selecting the peppers from their plants in the correct order in which they turned yellow. Depending on the level, the child will see 2, 3 or 4 peppers changing colour and will then have to select the same number of peppers with the mouse trying to reproduce the correct sequence. The game will always have 9 pepper plants and the order in which the peppers change colour is completely random.

The app monitors the child’s performance, measuring correct and incorrect answers for both the sorting task and the order selection task. The response time for each trial (calculated from the average response time for the game) is also monitored.

IRTIC is in charge of the software development and ISCTE from Portugal and UBB from Romania, two of the project partners, are in charge of the definition of the exercises. The rest of the Empower consortium is made up of Stichting Radboud University in the Netherlands, the Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering in Portugal, Hogskulen pa vestlandet University in Norway and the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca in Romania, which are four university departments in the technology area specialising in artificial intelligence, eye-tracking and biosensors.

The Romanian company IT Data Telecom, responsible for the creation of training content, is also involved in the project. The Autism-Europe association, an organisation based in Brussels that brings together a hundred organisations from more than 40 European countries, completes this consortium by leading the dissemination of the project’s results.