Augusta University

Free mobile game brings awareness to cystic fibrosis

AUGUSTA, Ga. – If you are a fan of Fruit Ninja or Super Mario, the latest app developed by Georgia Regents University and local fifth-graders is a must-have.

Battle Bacteria is educational, fun, and free to download.​

The main goal of the game is to bring awareness to cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects about 30,000 people in the U.S. and 70,000 worldwide.

Fifth-grade students at Chukker Creek Elementary in Aiken, S.C., came up with the initial concept and design for the characters in the game, said Jeff Mastromonico, director of the instructional design and development department at GRU.

Fifth-graders at Chukker Creek Elementary in Aiken, S.C., designed all characters of Bacteria Battle and researched all the facts about cystic fibrosis displayed in the game.
Fifth-graders at Chukker Creek Elementary in Aiken, S.C., designed all characters of Bacteria Battle and researched all the facts about cystic fibrosis displayed in the game.

“I developed the gameplay and design, getting regular feedback from the students as well as meeting with them on campus to discuss the game and answer any question they had about the process,” he said.

In the game, players become aware of what cystic fibrosis is, what causes it and what the symptoms and treatments are.

“The students were responsible for researching the cystic fibrosis facts and information that are supplied in the game,” Mastromonico said.

The idea for the app

The idea to create the game came from Alecia Kinard, whose daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Mastromonico said.

Kinard wanted to educate children and parents about the disorder and wanted fifth graders at Chukker Creek Elementary involved in the project.

After seeing an app that GRU helped create to teach children with diabetes about making good food choices, Kinard approached Mastromonico with her idea.

“This seemed a perfect fit with some of the work that we have been doing lately with the Children’s Hospital of Georgia developing games for them to utilize with patients,” Mastromonico said. “The added benefit of working with young students and educating them about careers in app, web, and game development also felt like the perfect opportunity to make ourselves available as a resource to the community.”

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder caused by a defective, recessive gene.

This gene makes body fluids such as mucus and digestive juices thicker and stickier. In turn, these fluids lose their lubricant properties, causing them to accumulate in the lungs and the digestive tract.

This build-up may lead to serious lung infections and life-threatening damage to the pancreas and other organs of the digestive system.

​There is no known cure for the disorder.

Playing Battle Bacteria

In this military-style game, you are the antibiotic and your mission is to kill the different bacteria that are in the lungs and pancreas of a person with cystic fibrosis.

In the first level, you have to slice and kill the bacteria in the lungs and be careful not to burst the oxygen bubbles in the same way you would cut fruits in Fruit Ninja and avoid exploding bombs.

The second level is similar to Super Mario in that you have to jump on the enemies to destroy them. Just be careful not to touch the enzymes, which could kill you.

Battle Bacteria has had about 700 downloads since its launch in March. It is available for Android and iOS platforms, and you can download it for free on Google Play or iTunes.

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