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Soda Drinker Pro Gives Neuromuscular Patients a Little Fizz

Drinking soda doesn’t sound like the most exciting idea for a video game, that much can be admitted. But Soda Drinker Pro is more than just drinking soda.

The game has been retooled to be utilized with the MyoPro, “a myoelectric limb orthosis.” That is, it’s a powered brace which provides support for weakened and/or deformed arms to help them regain functional use. It’s meant to assist patients with neuromuscular conditions like multiple sclerosis and ALS, as well as those recovering from strokes or brain and spinal cord injuries, such as soldiers returning from active duty.

It all came from the laboratory of Professor Woodie Flowers of MIT’s School of Mechanical Engineering. Flowers, the co-founder of the first robotics competition in the United States, assembled a group to “enable individuals to overcome their paralysis by providing innovative, myoelectric orthotics and support services.” These neuromuscular patients need a way to be able to both live safely at home and return to the workplace, so Myomo is researching ways to assist them in regaining the use of their limbs.

As great as MyoPro is, its creators soon realized there was a problem – its users would arrive for occupational therapy appointments without having received adequate training. They then had the bright idea to create video games especially for training users on the MyoPro, so they contacted Sean Halloran, a bright light at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Sean was the 2015 Pax East Omegathon Champion, and he designed a number of games for MyoPro users to make the training fun. These included a space shooter and some arcade-style games.

sodapro

The MyoPro users loved the games, but they wanted more. So Sean got in touch with Will Brierly of Snowrunner Productions. He helped Sean set up a port of his game Soda Drinker Pro for MyoPro users, allowing them to simulate the act of drinking soda while in different locations. Billed as “the original FPS (first person soda),” Soda Drinker Pro enables anyone to enjoy the experience of drinking soda without all the sugar and calories.

Anyone can experience Soda Drinker Pro for themselves; the game is exclusively downloadable for Windows or Mac from the official website, and it was announced at PAX East that it will soon be available for Xbox One as well. The game costs $4.99 USD and is compatible with Oculus Rift. A free demo version can also be requested from the same page. Experience more virtual soda shenanigans by visiting the game’s Facebook page.



Laura, to borrow a phrase from Metal Gear Solid 3, has one good eye and can still fire a gun. She refers to herself as a "video dame," and has been an avid gamer on various platforms since she first picked up a Pong controller over 30 years ago. She takes great delight in explaining different games to her husband.