Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust

Smartphone games motivating children with cystic fibrosis

Smartphone games motivating children with cystic fibrosis

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic condition that affects both the lungs and digestive system. Most people with CF will experience problems with lung function, which can drop to less than 20% of the value expected in someone with fully functioning lungs. A combination of physiotherapy and medication can help control lung infections and prevent the build-up of mucus that causes the damage.*

Children with cystic fibrosis often struggle to complete the daily physiotherapy needed to clear their chest, finding it repetitive and boring. As well as affecting their own health, this reluctance can cause much family stress.

Will Jackson's young daughter hated her daily physiotherapy, blowing into her PEP (positive expiratory pressure) device, so he is creating a smartphone-compatible physiotherapy monitor, to turn the tedium into fun. In partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust was delighted to fund the Paediatric Respiratory Department £40,000 toward the manufacture of a number of monitors to standards required for a clinical trial.

Will said: “Physio time had become a battle in our house. My daughter normally completes 90 blows into her PEP device during each physiotherapy session, twice a day. It gave 180 opportunities for us to argue! So I set myself a challenge to end this conflict. I’ve used my skills as a product designer to create an electronic monitor which links to a series of games and a smartphone app.

"Now every time my daughter does physiotherapy, she can run, jump or shoot aliens with each blow! She now chooses when she completes her treatment. It is firmly in her control and we don’t have to nag.”

Parents are delighted about the opportunity of relief from daily family stress and children are excited about actually being asked to play physio games to make physiotherapy a fun activity!

To find out more about changing patients’ lives, please contact Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust on 01223 217757 or visit

William (pictured above) was one of the first young patients to trial the PlayPhysio device. Find out what he thinks about the device in the film below kindly created for us pro bono thanks to cuttsy & cuttsy. For more information visit 




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