Category Archives: Games & technology

Sickle Cell Animations in Flash

Animations for Children

One of the activities within SCOOTER was working with local nurse counsellors in Leicester to start thinking about resources for children. The team I spoke with felt that making something in the form of an animation, that could help explain sickle cell to children, would be hugely beneficial.

Even better, we thought, wouldn’t it be great to get the children to produce some pictures and materials themselves. However, that is where we ground to a halt and the project would have required NHS ethics and taken effort and time that although all very exciting and important, were well outside of our timing and funding capabilities.

I would still be interested in exploring this again – although I’m now living in Bristol. Here are some basic animated resources that we did start to develop, based on some of their paper-based resources.






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Sickle Cell Games in Adobe Flash

New SCOOTER project items!

Well – not exactly newly produced by newly released. The OERs on this page were quite lovely and another of our De Montfort University student contributions to our open education project. In collaboration with Prof. Howell Istance in the Faculty of Technology, we’d often share a final year project student to work on something linking science to technology. In 2011-2012 a technology student – Nick Machon – embarked on the task of producing a game to help bioscience students understand some of the principles of diagnosing sickle cell disease.

Nick Machon Game

Front cover of Nick’s genetic inheritance game.

The coding

Now, I’m not a game designer, but I do use Flash Animation and know how complex the coding is that adds interactivity and control to the game. Nick chose Flash as his platform, ,so, if the games below seem relatively simple, that does no way reflect the complexity behind the scenes!

The design process

Again, not a game technologist, but in reality, the job of producing a game would involve vast multidisciplinary teams – designers, coders, character builders, sound editors etc etc. Nick took all these roles on himself, and maybe not quite polished in some places, he did in fact complete the task in hand!

Cross-disciplinary design

I have worked with many tech students in the past, and quite understandably, their grasp of a scientific concept is the starting point of their game, and many fail at this hurdle. Nick was something else and picked up some very complex genetic principles of dominant and recessive inheritance to produce his game.

So, here are fragments of what Nick produced – I thought them worthy of release although the final diagnostic game was not completed in time, but he was awarded a good mark for his dissertation in particular reflecting his excellent design process and ability to work in a team.

Here are 3 Flash Animation files (.swf) files. If you can’t see them, well, sorry 🙂  The first two are part of an interactive inheritance game, and the final one part of the diagnostic techniques to identify a number of blood samples. CLICK TO OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW.




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Sickle Cell Anaemia News from De Montfort University


A sickle cell anaemia project collaboration between the University of Ibadan (UI) in Nigeria and De Montfort University (DMU) has led to the development of a health promotion computer game, to teach children about sickle cell disease.

The collaboration involves Professor Howell Istance from the Centre for Computational Intelligence at DMU, Yetunde Folajimi of UI’s Department of Computer Science, and Dr Viv Rolfe and Professor Simon Dyson from the School of Allied Health Science also at DMU. Viv and Simon are also involved in the SCOOTER project sharing open educational resources to support sickle cell education around the globe.

Dr Yetunde Folajimi

Sickle cell anaemia is a common genetic disorder where red blood cells become sickle-shaped during stressful events, and manifest as a sickle cell crisis. This is extremely painful and damaging, and sickle cell is particularly prevalent in Africa, with 25% of adults in Nigeria reported to have the sickle cell trait. Sickle cell anaemia is also common in the UK, and one of the open educational resources produced by Professor Dyson included a guide to school policy for children with sickle cell disease and thalassaemia (Guide for Schools, Available

It was an aim of Yetunde’s project to produce a game to inform children of some of the stressful events such as dehydration or extremes in temperature, that can trigger a crisis. Yetunde was funded by the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship scheme and visited the UK over the summer. In the game, the main character – a red blood cell – has to be kept as healthy as possible by avoiding the potential stressors and hazards. Piloting the game with children was successful and the team now need to make sure that the health messages are clearly conveyed and that the game performs its function.

Yetunde has now returned to Nigeria and will continue improving the game and testing it on local children. Such innovations are vital to promote health advice to children, their families and friends both in the UK and Africa to raise awareness of sickle cell anaemia.

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