Games and Brain
IIIT Hyderabad
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About Us

The canvas we work on

Serious games are designed and developed to facilitate gamers learn higher order thinking skills while engaged in game play. This genre of games integrates entertainment and learning seamlessly by providing a platform wherein the learner or gamer has access to applicable instructions, that is, hands-on virtual learning. This method of learning is also partly driven by the present digitally aware or connected generation and their motivation to play games. Game based learning is one of the latest in the genre of technologies aimed at this present generation. It is also reported that certain hard-to-teach students showed improved concentration when playing an educational game. Research also indicates that under some conditions, serious games can accelerate learning and development of higher-level cognitive skills. The current focus is on evolving models that transition serious games from being motivation medium to actual transfer of knowledge. To measure transfer of knowledge there are many dependent parameters which require systematic studies, that is the ‘how’, ‘for whom’ and the ‘why’ of serious game introduction in learning. The ‘how’ as evolved in the design stage-interfaces, scenario presentation, environment, pedagogical etc, the ‘who’ part includes the human behavioral & cognitive variations and the ‘why’ – the trade-offs between real-virtual realness.

The research and development spans from physical/virtual games - serious and purely entertainment – to novels modes of interaction with the virtual media. Game control using gestures – recognized by cameras or sensors, controlling navigation in virtual reality using EEG/EMG signals, motion capture by IR cameras, eye movements, sensing surfaces etc.

Research on decision making, visuo-motor responses in normal and stroke/spinal cord injury patients, cognitive disabilities like dementia, pattern recognition and visual intelligence is core interest.

Unique board & virtual games are developed by the Game Design & Engineering course students and the same open licensing by companies or schools/hospitals.

The current team is a mix of cognitive scientists, computer science and electronics engineers with game based external collaborations.

Current Projects


War gaming is an old concept for the military used to analyze and convey tactical situations and decisions. One of the oldest mediums for these exercises is the sandtable models, which were and still are large physical representation of a particular terrain or area of interest. In this project we virtualized the sandtable with geospatial maps (2-D and 3D First-person-view) and overlaid an application to facilitate interactivity and competitive learning. Positive impacts of games include strategic skills, decision making, recall capabilities, problem recognition, problem solving options anslysis, psychomotor skills, memory and learning or creating knowledge by community game play also social skills. The mechanics –paths, AI/physics engine and elements like tanks, trucks, landmines are generic and can be used for any tactical exercise.

Neuro rehabilitation

in Collaboration with Dr Rajender, Anurag Rehab Clinic, Hyderabad - OPEN FOR TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

Traumatic brain injury from a road accident or paralysis requires long term and expensive therapy. Traditional physiotherapy exercises is usually at dedicated rehab centers with expensive equipment or with gym systems modified for specific exercise and are not accessible for economically poor sessions of the society and importantly rural population. Many of them move to cities with family for 3-6 months of therapy sessions.The current sessions are un-motivating and importantly require the doctor's or therapists constant monitoring to access the progress. Our idea originates from integrating games and use of bio-feedback control systems to provide an immersive virtual environment while also recording the actual movement progress using sensors and the data provided to doctors/therapists co-located or remote. By making minimal modification to off-the-shelf gym equipment, tested rehab centers can be set up by youth in remote areas and the data collected y sensors transferred to doctors for diagnosis.

The uniqueness of the proposed systems
  • Cost effective
  • Modular, the same hardware can be used in many exercises.
  • The hardware signals integration to any game is easy. This making game development for open-source.
  • The diagnosis can be remote. Data for each patient can be transferred over internet or mobile to a remote doctor.
  • Youth in rural areas can start therapy center which can also double as regular gyms, making it profitable.
  • The system can be expanded for cognitive therapy in patients with age related conditions like dementia and arthritis.
  • And most importantly, elderly population in urban and rural areas can avail affordable scientific rehab sessions at local nodes.

Urban Planning

Considering that urban planning is a consentaneous issue with multiple stake holders, we are designing game simulators that allows a group of people to propose or raise objections to a development plan suggested by one of the stake holders. The research goal was to study negotiation process given all information. Towards this, a pilot application was developed which allows a player to propose a new-road on a geo-map. A set of stake holders can tag the buildings or any other structures that would have to be removed with either a negotiable price or make an intention that the structure cannot be removed (heritage buildings, hospitals ,schools, parks etc.,). Additionally a safe-zone around the structure can be indicated. The negotiation process can be initiated for buying the property to lay the road….and so on.
We plan to expand this by building the back-end with all dynamics of urban planning (environmental restrictions etc.,) for complete city/village planning.

Analyzing visual cues extracted for strategizing in sports

badminton, shooting, basketball (We welcome support from sportspersons & sport researchers)

We collect eye movement data from players in real-life naturalistic conditions which provides insight into anticipation, prediction and rapid readjustments processes applied by players in a sport like badminton or the ‘quiet-eye’ period applied by shooters. Inferences on the underlying cognitive and motor skills are derived from visual search patterns and fixation duration in the preparatory, anticipatory and execution stages of the game play.

Effect of high-beam on driving

(We welcome support from public and industry for this research)

Look at changes in eye strain from sudden illuminance changes and constant exposure to high beams. Determine the changes in visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and field extent following sudden and constant exposure to high beams. Analyze variation in pupil dilation in glare condition and visual sensitivity to moving forms in high/low beam conditions in inner city roads and national highways (divided and undivided lanes). Measure the attentional tunneling from the visual acuity and peripheral vision. Study the motor reflex behavior (visuo-motor response time) in discomfort and disability glare conditions. With data from the data collected we plan to draw up policy guidelines in consultation with citizen groups, automobile industry and government on implementation of standards on headlamps and optical specifications for reflectors (road, sign boards, wearable, on vehicles) and wind-shields. The core development goal is to design and develop cognitive assistive systems for night time driving – sensing and sensory response systems.


Browse through our present and past works here

1. Serious games
(Funded by DIT, Government of India, NPPE Phase II 2013-2016)

Temple Steps

Neuro Rehabilitation

Run and Catch

Neuro Rehabilitation

2. Interfaces

Smart Grid

Smart Grid Network simulation Game

Gesture Dome

Novel Dome shaped Gesture Interface

Smart City

A Learning interface for solving city problems

3.Assistive systems
  • Sensors based interfaces for physical therapy of stroke, injury and other motor related clinical conditions.
  • Eye movement controlled game for diagnosis of conditions like amblyopia, attention disorders.

Eyes Age

GamePlay with eyes and legs

Epoc and Lego

Thought controlled Robot

Eye tracking in driving

Understanding effect of High Beam on Visual System



Design Patents (granted)
  • Infrared Sensors based gesture recognizer. Kavita Vemuri, Jasmine Bhanushali, and Sai Parthasarathy Miduthuri, Filed: October 2014, File number: D270098
  • Game Set : Geometrical shapes, Charu Jain, Netal Gupta, H Saritha, Kavita Vemuri ,Filed: November 2012. D No.249297


  • Vemuri K, Surampudi BR. 2015. Evidence of stimulus correlated empathy modes - Group ICA of fMRI data. Brain and Cogn. 94:32-43.
  • Vemuri K., Surampudi BR. 2015. An exploratory investigation of functional network connectivity of empathy and default mode networks in a free-viewing task. Brain Connectivity, in print,
  • Vemuri K., Sivaswamy J., Surampudi BR. 2015. The long and short of narrative empathy. Submitting revised version.
  • Vemuri K, Bisla K., Mulpuru S, Varadarajan S. (2015).Does normal pupil diameter differences in population underlie the color selection of the #dress?. Submitted to JOSA A

Book Chapter

  • A DIGITAL NEGOTIATION GEOGAME: Discussion based on the example of YouPlaceIt! Game. Alenka Poplin, Iowa State University, Kavita Vemuri, International Institute of Information Technology, Springer Book on Geogames and Geoplay, Editor: Dr. Ola Ahlqvist. (submitted for final review)

Conference Proceedings

  • Kukar D., Vemuri,K.(2015) Investigating human visual search/cognition strategy in kinship matching – face matching experiment. Submitted to 3rd International Conference on Cognition, Brain and Computation, IIT Gandhinagar, India
  • Drithi Goyal*, Kavita Vemuri. Preliminary comparative analysis of activations due to controlled deep-breathing and resting-state in regions covered by major arteries – a fMRI study. Accepted for presentation at the 3rd International Conference on Cognition, Brain and Computation, IIT Gandhinagar, India.
  • Jasmine Bhanushali, Sai Parthasarathy Miduthuri, Kavita Vemuri. A dome-shaped interface embedded with low-cost infrared sensors for car-game control by gesture recognition. HCI International 2015. Los Angeles. (full paper).
  • Abhishek Agarwal, Divya Kukkar, Junaid Ahmed, Rajat Singla, Kavita Vemuri . A game for inducing movement of the stroke affected arm based on the mirror-box concept. ECONS Neurogamng 2015, Los Angeles. (abstract).
  • Aditi Mavalankar, Snigdha Dagar, Kavita Vemuri. Decoding (un)known opponent's game play, a real-life badminton eye tracking study. EAPCogsci 2015. Full paper
  • Sai Krishna Mulpuru and Kavita Vemuri. Tracking pedestrain in highbeam condition – a visual sensitivity as a function of pupil dilation analysis. ECVP 2015.
  • Niyati Mishra, Vamshi Velagapuri, and Kavita Vemuri. Visuo-spatial recall and reproduction of geometrical shapes and math equations as a function of presentation style – static, block and animation. Poster at ACCS 2014, IIT Kanpur. (extended abstract)
  • Vemuri, K., Poplin, A. and Monachesi, P. 2014. YouPlaceIt!: a Serious Digital Game for Achieving Consensus in Urban Planning 17th AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science (AGILE 2014), Spain
  • Abhishek Bharadwaj,Kavita Vemuri. An Online Game of Carrom with Live Video Feed of Co-player and Face-To-Face: Effect on Strike Response Time. 2012. IEEE International Games Innovation Conference, Rochester, US. (6-page full paper)

Our Amazing Team

Our Lab Members

Kavita Vemuri

Senior Research Scientist

(Link to CV)

Aditi Malavankar

Project Student

Dhriti Goyal

Honors Student

Sai Mulpuru

Research Assistant

(Link to CV)

Raviraja Ganta

Project Student

(Link to CV)

Divya Kukkar

Honors Student

Snigdha Dagar

Project Student

Mohit Goel

Graduate Student

Kanishk Jain

Honors Student

Vanya Jauhal

Honors Student

Arpan Kundu

Project Student

Rohan Bhatial

Honors Student

Akshita Negi

Honors Student

Kulvinder Bisla

Graduate Student

Nithya Shree

Honors Student

Feel free to drop an email to any of us to know more about our projects or to pursue your graduate studies in our lab.

Contact Us

If you have questions, or are willing to participate in our behavioral studies, please leave a message here, and we will get back to you promptly.