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This new mobile game might save lives, with the help of VR

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Smartphones are capable of a lot in 2016, but could a phone really save lives? A new project is using smartphone games to help give emergency care training to healthcare workers in Africa.

Over 470,000 babies die on the day they are born in Africa and Life-saving Instruction for Emergencies (LIFE) wants to help shrink that figure.

The idea is that the game will educate workers to help identify those in distress and save lives. The 2.5 million healthcare workers in Africa will be able to access the educational games from affordable smartphones rather than the usual face-to-face training.

Mike English, a Professor at Oxford's Department of Tropical Medicine, is head of the project and works as a paediatrician in Nairobi.

"The World Health Organisation estimates that over two thirds of new-born deaths in Africa could be avoided by delivering essential interventions including emergency care effectively," he said.

Saving lives

"With face-to-face training we have reached only a tiny proportion of the 2.5 million African healthcare workers. We need a system that enables everyone to access and learn the essential steps to save babies in an emergency. This is what we're aiming to do with our LIFE platform."

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"We will make it available so that healthcare workers with a basic smartphone can download the game and learn or revise essential knowledge regularly."

The campaign is also looking into virtual reality technologies to help educate healthcare workers. It's thought that the HTC Vive would be able to bring a new level of realism to the project that can't be achieved with smartphone games.

The project has just launched a crowd funding appeal to help raise £100k to develop the platform over the next 12 months. If you want to help with the project, you can donate here.

James Peckham
James Peckham

James is Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He's currently most excited about the Samsung Galaxy S22, God of War: Ragnarok and the rumored foldable iPhone.