In InLife, the main focus is to facilitate the integration of real-world information into the game world and validate how this approach helps serious games to have a significant impact in their intended educational objectives. Thus, InLife’s Gamification Platform, and the associated Serious Games, drive users’ progress by completing specific tasks in real life, such as switching off a light when leaving a room or cooperate with other persons in simple actions, on top of a scalable sensing and monitoring infrastructure implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm. IoT enables the creation of user-centered applications in various domains and scales allowing seamless connection of objects able to interact with the environment and also the apps.
InLife gathers substantial innovation potential, being based on a fundamentally novel concept and featuring a unique combination of three differentiating elements. Real-life actions have noticeable consequences on the serious in-game progress, which in turn act as stimuli that motivate and promote behavioual change, mobilizing awareness-raising of more conscious actions in real-life.
On the basis of this fundamental novelty, InLife gathers the following differentiation factors and features:
- an open gamification approach for non-leisure, educational and social inclusion, applications and behavioural changes, linking the physical world to serious game progress evolution;
- reliable, modular and flexible IoT functions providing bidirectional interaction between serious gameplay activities and the surrounding real-space;
- integration of powerful serious games analytics and automatic difficulty and reward balancing mechanisms;
- coverage of pertinent societal and educational issues and needs, such as working towards a collective goal, environmental awareness, support of well-being and social inclusion, active citizen engagement, etc.
- utilization of multiple state-of-the-art open gaming technologies for the realization of a modular, flexible and open architecture able to support serious games in a wide range of educational, learning and social inclusion contexts with minimum external intervention, offering also simplified tools for customizing and adjusting serious game parameters and settings.
In InLife, IoT platform is realized on a 3-tier architecture, shown in figure below. The bottom tier consists of heterogeneous low power sensing devices which permit to interact with the real world. Sensors include temperature, light, ultrasonic, power consumption meters, etc. and each one is attached to a Raspberry Pi module, which provides a powerful, low-cost SoC solution facilitating interoperability, flexibility, security and scalability requirements of InLife. The 2nd tier consists of a Gateway which establishes network connectivity and permits to gather the data sent by the sensing devices via heterogeneous wireless technologies e.g. Zigbee, low-power Wi-Fi etc. One of the main functions of the gateway is to provide Internet connectivity to reach the cloud, where resource management, data storage, information security and access control services are implemented (3rd tier). The overall architecture is independent of the number of simultaneous running apps and analytics, as well as connected smart devices and nodes. Therefore, it is extremely flexible and scalable, as it is desired for a platform devoted to experiment within a dynamically changing IoT environment.