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Herring and Nutrition Guru win Sitra’s game competition

Games allowing players to become nutritionists and enliven audiometric testing win Sitra's competition to find new apps to encourage healthy living...



A game called Herring, designed to make audiometric testing more fun, has won first prize in Sitra’s Gesundheit 2013 competition category for games. In the idea category, the winner was Nutrition Guru, which puts players in the shoes of a nutritionist. The popularity of the game competition surpassed Sitra’s expectations both in terms of the number of entries and the high level of ideas. “We organised the competition because you are allowed to have fun when taking care of your well-being,” says Antti Kivelä from Sitra. In addition to cash prizes, the winners will be awarded with a trip to the Health 2.0 conference in Silicon Valley.

Herring was created by Johannes Koponen and Ville Sundberg. It comprises four games, each targeted at a different age group. The idea is to give children positive feedback on correctly-timed responses to the signal tone used in audiometric testing, thus making a monotonous performance requiring precision more fun by turning it into a game.

“Winning the competition is a great thing and it happened to us at exactly the right time,” Koponen and Sundberg said. “Our next step will be taking our prize trip to California and getting some significant feedback there.” In addition, Koponen and Sundberg have set their sights on conducting a clinical study in Finland in the near future, while promoting the distribution of Herring beyond its existing markets.

In Nutrition Guru, which won the idea category of the Gesundheit 2013 competition, the player is tasked with advancing a nutritionist’s career from an apprentice to a top-class expert. The player progresses by drawing up a day’s menu for one client at a time within a specific amount of time. The requirement level gradually rises as the clients’ needs become more demanding; for example, the imaginary clients could be underweight or overweight, or they could have allergies or special diets.

Despite the entertaining nature of the game, all information displayed is based on research and official recommendations. For example, the nutritional values of foodstuffs are collected from the National Institute for Health and Welfare’s Fineli database. “If the game already existed, it would make my own life easier by helping to figure out at a practical level and in a comprehensive way what a healthy diet actually consists of,” says Samuli Viitasaari, the creator of Nutrition Guru.

The purpose of the Gesundheit 2013 game competition organised by Sitra was to find ideas for fun and realisable games or apps that would get people hooked on healthy lifestyles. A total of 25 entries were received in the game series and 112 in the idea series, which surpassed the organiser’s expectations.

“The level of implementation was high,” says Tapio Tuomi from Sitra, the creator of the game competition and a member of the judging panel. “The essential thing about Herring was that the team had picked out an idea and succeeded in finding a solution for it, implementing it and then launching it. The panel of judges sees that the game has immense distribution potential.”

The Nutrition Guru, on the other hand, was selected as the winner of the idea category on the basis of overall points given by the judges, after the five best ideas had been picked out from among a large number of entries. Each judge ranked these ideas, giving 5 points to the one he or she considered the best, 4 points to the second best, and so on.

The winners of the Gesundheit 2013 competition were announced at Finlandia Hall on 3 September 2013 in connection with the Future of Health Care seminar, organised by Sitra. The award ceremony will be held in connection with the WÄRK-festival in Helsinki on 5 October 2013.

The best three entries in the game category of the Gesundheit 2013 competition were:

  1. Herring. The app consists of four games, each one targeted at a different age group. The idea of the game is to give children positive feedback on correctly-timed responses to the signal tone used in audiometric testing. Johannes Koponen and Ville Sundberg
  2. OutCatch. OutCatch encourages players to go on a treasure hunt, taking them outdoors to get to know the environment better and to see it in a totally new light. Players can become the Indiana Jones of the neighbourhood and get within a few frames of finding the treasure. Planetboard Oy
  3. Vital Quest. A few foodstuffs used in Finland containing a lot of vitamins were selected for the game. In the course of the game, the player is tasked with organising the foodstuffs according to their vitamin contents. Elias Rantanen

The best three entries in the idea category of the Gesundheit 2013 competition were:

  1. Nutrition Guru.  Nutrition Guru is a mobile game/web app, where the player is tasked with advancing a nutritionist’s career from an apprentice all the way to a top-class expert – a Nutrition Guru. Samuli Viitasaari
  2. QuiDDit. Helping people to quit or cut down on smoking. Jutta Ollila and Joni Anttalainen.
  3. Laulis. Laulis is a singing teacher in your pocket, a mobile application with the purpose of encouraging children and young people in particular to sing. Susanna Tikkanen, Heini Honkaniemi and Arttu Volanto

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