Dream Tank is a 501c3, entrepreneurship accelerator and social enterprise providing people of all ages with tools, confidence, and network to produce some of the most unique and beneficial products and services in the world. We brought together kids, veterans and mentors to design a proof of concept and the result is “Rediscover Joy”, a game experience designed by 9 year old Ty Wargo and the entire Dream Tank team.
Hello amazing people reading this! To give you a sense of where this began we have to share with you a quote from our loved team member Debi Stack who accepted and has been fighting for a very powerful mission for many years. These are some of her words:
“I retired from IBM as the first female Watson AI consultant and in that role, I accepted a mission to Save Lives among U.S. Veterans. I believe that access to resources for meditation, martial arts, flow state, counseling, etc. can be scaled through a fun, engaging game experience that is personalized with AI, based on contextually relevant data and sensors.
In November, 2019, we sponsored #hackingforheroes with Dream Tank, an entrepreneurship accelerator with a mission to ignite the dreams of 1 billion kids. We brought together kids, veterans and mentors to design a proof of concept and the result is “Rediscover Joy”, a game experience for stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD. What was most powerful about this experience was the realization that we came to teach the kids and the kids taught us. Their creativity and expression with gaming along with their empathy for veterans was inspirational!“
Covid shifted the plans to develop Rediscover Joy from in person work to digital collaboration. This has come with new challenges but it is our hope that during this time we will be able to find the experts and supporters to help us launch quicker and better than ever. Especially now that we are seeing that this idea has potential to bring wellness to those in need, and underserved populations, which is even more necessary in these trying times.
What it does
Rediscover Joy is a wellness platformer game where the user gets to explore a fun and safe space either by themselves, or with trusted family and friends. In that space the user gets to explore portals to fun game aspects like driving a car, playing basketball, solving puzzles, and practicing meditation or breathing exercises. It also shares information on healthy curiosities, habits, and information. For example, we will train an AI to recommend resources including meditation, counseling, VA resources, and more. From your home you can drop into a game with a purpose to bring you wellness, confidence, and joy.
We have a number of ways to grow, sustain, and advance the mental health field through the integration of an AI assistant and the development into an AR/VR space with blockchain for privacy, security and tokenization. We have a growing mentor network, connections, and skill sets to launch and grow, seeking a federal contract with the Veterans Administration. The VA spends approximately $3,000 annually for each of 1.7M veterans who seeks PTSD treatment. At an estimated $100 per year for the Rediscover Joy platform, we could potentially reach all of the 20M veterans and their families who have suffered the trauma of war.
Pre-Covid part of this design came while working alongside US Veterans and the mission of saving the lives of service people. Many of which suffer in silence or at the cost of expensive medical treatments. This game can reach them and the many more who are now dealing with loneliness, depression, and frustration with the world. In collaboration we can bring together and scale up a fun wellness game that can impact both everyday people and people in need.
The space is also changeable so if the individual, or the individual and their family want to add elements and beauty to their safe space they can. This can be an intergenerational activity and way to connect. The kids and youth can create spaces and environments to than share with their parents and grandparents who can connect and share in an experience.
How we built it
This idea was built using a design thinking approach and understanding the needs of the user. We coached the kids in the Dream Tank Hackathon at Colorado University, to develop empathy and interview our U.S. Veteran mentors. Together they designed the prototype and game design document, logo and marketing materials, business case, and documentation.
Challenges we ran into
We also coached the kids on Unity development and they were able to design a container for the game in VR. However, we were challenged with limited time, skills and equipment to fully design and develop the game in VR.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of our kids team, ages 7 to 17 and particularly, Ty who won the Hackathon challenge with his design in Roblox.
What we learned
One of the things we have learned is just how brilliant kids are. A team of 20 kids under the age of 17 put together this prototype over two days and the results were as good as any design challenge with MBA teams at IBM. We have an almost complete game design proposal.
What's next for Rediscover Joy, Ascend, and Dream Tank?
We are seeking funding for developers, designers, and business development resources to prototype the game with AI and VR. Debi Stack has researched this project for three years and Jeff Ferguson, who has submitted another Hackathon gaming proposal, has offered to combine efforts to further this development and possibly exhibit at Virtual Burning Man in September.
Ascend and Dream Tank want to launch another intergenerational collaboration through a virtual summer camp program with sponsors and funding.
We worked with youth ranging from 7 to 17 in our November 2019 accelerator. It is designed in Roblox with plans to develop the VR experience in Unity or Unreal Engine and train the personalized AI engine with sponsorship from IBM, Google or Amazon.