One person in five has a respiratory disease – Let's build free/libre and open sources games and devices for respiratory health!

The Challenge: 

The Question: 

How to ensure lifesaving health innovation benefits all?

The Problem: 

Competition and copyrights hinder free access to health innovation.

The Solution: 

We create a common to build on collective intelligence.


Breathing Games ( promotes respiratory health by encouraging the appropriation of care by each citizen.

We create a common – collectively managed resources that are freely accessible and can be used and enriched by everyone – by spurring collaboration between all interested stakeholders to build on collective intelligence

The project concentrates on healthy behaviours and has been developed collectively with patient associations, health institutions, universities and other organisations.

The games produced participatorily are meant to improve the quality and life expectancy of people with respiratory problems – by educating, transforming therapy into games, and promoting healthy habits. They can be reused and adapted by everyone to address local problems and needs, as long as the free/libre and open-source licences are maintained. We also develop open-source hardware such as flowmeter for domesic use. This material shall enable everyone, in all countries, to get indicators about his health (lung capacity tests), and shall also provide decentralized, anonimyzed data to advance public health research (blockchain/IPFS).

On top of that we have been building a community of people to further develop and distribute the games. We successfully organized gamejams about cystic fibrosis and asthma in Switzerland and in Canada, and plan other events on breathing health and chronic respiratory diseases in the next months. The audience is huge: 1 out of 5 people in the world suffer from chronic respiratory diseases, and half of them do not follow the therapy as agreed with their caregiver.

Key to the success of this initiative is the socio-economic, non-exclusive model we developed, as well as the platform we use to log contributions and redistribute to the contributors the raised funds. We use agile development methodologies and allow members to self-organise, so that we build on the collective intelligence and transform ideas into sustainable, scalable products and services.

The participatory, inclusive approach enables us to build research-backed games that also are attractive and fun to play with. Interdisciplinarity helps us gain a multifaceted, holistic vision of healthcare and fosters collaboration between different parties, beyond institutions and countries. That is key in tackling challenges in health care.

Through games, therapy can become a more joyful practice – would you like to follow a tedious, boring therapy one hour daily, as children with cystic fibrosis do since they are 4 years old?

Are you also interested in employing entertaining, game-like elements in the health care system and therapy?
Is there a health-related challenge in your neighbourhood, community, which you think you could solve by employing similar approach?
Do you have some experience in creating health-related apps and props?
Share your story or drop a comment, let us know about it!

Breathing Games is a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact and of the Open Source Initiative.

Discover more about us at


What responses have you had?

Noemi's picture

Hi @breathinggames, whoa you rock. How did the prototype testing go, I imagine this is the kind of practical solution that literally everyone loves? 

PS Congrats for the large numbers of partners you managed to bring on board (I counted 18 on your website!)

Second that

Alberto's picture

Congrats @breathinggames ! I also would like to know about the testing. opencare is about honest sharing of knowledge, including things that don't quite work as expected. In fact, failures (especially non-lethal) tend to be more interesting datapoints than successes, because we can learn more from them. :-)

Evolution and testing

breathinggames's picture

Hi @Noemi and @Alberto. Thanks for your feedbacks. :D

In 2014, we started with the positive expiratory pressure therapy for CF children. It was in fact not the best move as the exercice takes about 30 minutes daily, which would require a lot of resources to have interesting games, plus the fact that the exercice is quite strict, so challenging to make it interesting. We then thought about other, more free gameplays, which we have to develop. We are now working on mini-games for asthma, that are about triggers and how to take the medicine. We want to reuse the work done for CF to build short games for aerosoltherapy.

Regarding tests, we did a prestudy with ten children in a hospital, to see their interest, and that was positive. We are preparing two studies with focus groups to test the games that have been improved.

Many learnings were also about setting the collaboratife framework, platform, etc. We are writing a few articles about that, that should be released in the next month. The initiative mostly advances during events as our community is always small, but we start to have funding and are going to redistribute them, with the aim to mobilize contributors on the long run. One big challenge is also that our non-exclusive model is not easily understood by authorities, so it takes a lot of time to explain it, and many fundings are not available as most competitions support profit-driven organizations. So we are thinking about creating a specific structure to be able to access these resources. Another thing is to move from proprietary to free softwares, for example from Google docs to a wiki, or from Unity game engine to another one. So they are lots of interesing challenges at different levels. :)

We invite you to subscribe to our YouTube, where we are going to release 15 interviews of what participants learned during the last gamejam. In the next months, we intend to do gamejams in Montreal, Geneva, and possibly Paris and Lima if you d'like to join there or remotely!


Noemi's picture

And look forward to the videos. It seems to me that gamejams and all the events where you are present are most useful for getting support. With anything involving technology the easiest is just to show how it works, so even inviting authorities/ potential funders to gamejams might do the trick.



Michel's picture

Nice work @breathinggame, It's really a good revolution therapy treatment for lungs and chest weakness . I'm sure that is not only those who have chest disease but also those who are in good condition. It's really needs to tell that it's a personal device. Is not necessary to tell that kids are curious and they can bring trouble sometime.

Is there any level for  any step of lungs illness?  And is that need any assistance to check the evolution of the patient? 

First interview of participants released

breathinggames's picture

@Noemi, the first interview was released yesterday on our channel and we will release one per week! :)

@Michel we started with CF and asthma but the idea is that projects emerge in different places. As a patient said, its a doctor's thing to separate diseases... but usually, asthma, allergies, etc are mixed. And yes it will include also games about good breathing and hopefully, people not affected with diseases can also become more aware about their health and invest in prevention. ^^

We are working on the outcomes to be shown, for example visualizing the evolution of lung capacity, effects of doing therapy or not, etc.

Breath is the Game

Positive-Voice's picture

@breathinggame, your story and goal really moving. Hope the expected prototype testing goes. Impressive the amount of people and partners you brought on board. 

We are part of a 85-minute documentary!

breathinggames's picture

What if working together for the good of all was the most common business model? Discover A new Economy, starring seven initiatives including Sensorica and ours.

Thanks @Positive-Voice for your comment. :)