Gaming that responds to players' emotions & rewards those who can master them

From 27th September you can support the launch of BfB Labs’ first game Champions of the Shengha and the BfB Sensor bundle through crowdfunding. Find out more about supporting this and sign up in the form below to be amongst the first to know about the game’s launch.


The BfB Labs is a new social venture created by Shift that sets out to bring Emotionally Responsive Gaming (ERG) to the world. These games respond to players’ emotions and reward those who can master them. They challenge players physically, mentally and emotionally and, unlike other games, effectively train players in key aspects of emotional control, building resilience and promoting wellbeing.

The product

BfB Labs first title is Champions of the Shengha, a fantasy card battling game played with the BfB Sensor – an ear clip monitor that measures users’ emotional state by tracking their heart rate variability (HRV). The game challenges you to defeat your opponents with a combination of strategy and self control on the way to becoming the ultimate Shengha warrior. Watch the game walkthrough.

Through regular play, users master powerful skills of emotional control. These skills equip them to cope and thrive within the game and beyond it, improving their capacity to deal with stress, anxiety and frustration and be at their best.

The need & benefits

“We need healthy, creative and resilient children who know how to maintain wellbeing and can manage stress, judge risks and embrace failure as part of the learning process. It’s essential that we find ways of engaging young people with their technologies in order to do this.”

Charlotte Berry, Deputy Head Teacher, The Billericay School

Half of common mental health disorders in the UK start by the age of 14 and ultimately affect 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives. By teaching young people the skills to regulate their emotions, you can increase their well-being which protects against the development of mental health problems.

“When I’m in an argument I don’t feel right, I sometimes feel like I’m in a different planet, on a different world. When I did breathing I’d learnt in the game, I calmed down, came back to earth

Student, 15

Over the last two years, the BfB Labs team has run 5 trials with groups of between 10 and 90 young players aged 10-15, which have demonstrated that our games effectively train players to manage their emotional state through diaphragmatic breathing. Findings from the largest trial run in early 2016 include:

  • Players spent on average 26 minutes per play session focusing on breathing
  • Over 4 in 5 participants were able to reliably double their heart rate variability, spending 40% of focused breathing time over this threshold
  • 3 in 4 reported getting better at staying calm and focused within the game
  • 1 in 4 reported they had already started applying these techniques outside of the game by the end of the trial
  • 2 in 3 participants would recommend the game to a friend

Stay up to date & support the launch

From 27th September-11th November, BfB Labs will launch Champions of the Shengha and the BfB Sensor bundle through crowdfunding.

If you would like to stay up to date with the campaign, be one of the first people to play Champions of the Shengha or support BfB Labs to distribute the game to our network of partner schools and youth groups in the UK and USA, please share your details and preferences below:


BfB Labs Trials Summary

BfB Labs Trial Summary

September 14, 2016

An evaluation report describing the results of the five trials of Shift’s emotionally responsive biofeedback video game, conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the game in training emotional regulation skills through regulated diaphragmatic breathing, as well as measure levels of enjoyment and stickiness.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 10.26.39

Harnessing the power of games to improve wellbeing

March 18, 2015

An evaluation report describing the results of the first test of Shift’s biofeedback video game, which uses the player’s heart rate to reward players for staying calm under pressure.
Kathleen Collett and Naomi Stoll



video games and wellbeing

Video games and wellbeing

March 1, 2014

Exploring the role and impact of video games in young people’s lives, and how video games and biofeedback can be combined in wellbeing interventions.
Kathleen Collett and Naomi Stoll

promotoing wellbeing

Promoting wellbeing: A practical way to improve public mental health

February 2, 2014

Outlining the scale and impact of mental health, who is most at risk, and the argument for focusing on wellbeing
Kathleen Collett


survey products wellbeing

Survey of products and services which promote wellbeing

February 1, 2014

Evidence for interventions to improve wellbeing (mindfulness, gratitudes, awe and optimism) and examples of products and services which facilitate these.
Kathleen Collett and Tayo Medupin


Technology and Behaviour Change

Recently, hundreds of people gathered in London for a Tech for Good meet up to discuss how new technology and products can change behaviour.

How do these products and services work? Can they really encourage people to ‘be better’ long-term or do you need to change the system and society in other ways? ‘Who’ decides what’s better anyway? And when does behaviour change become coercion or something more controlling?

Tech for Good TV explore this in their latest podcast, featuring our Research and Evaluation Director Kathleen Collett, supported by Bethnal Green Ventures and Nominet Trust



playlabA development studio which specialises in games that produce measurable positive changes. Playlab London helped develop and test the initial prototype games.


c2vAn international research agency with specialisms in gaming and digital research. 2CV have been involved in game testing and evaluation, bringing the rigorous games research used by larger game manufacturers to the project.


Billericay School, Essex - ­ The initial prototype of the video game is being tested with 60 13 year olds at the Billericay School over a six week period

Supported by

NT      google       nesta


googleimpactFinalist in Google Impact Challenge run by and Nesta to support UK charities using technology to tackle problems and transform lives around the world.

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