serious games for medical imaging

Serious games for medical imaging teaching

In the context of teaching radiologic technologists (RT), we thought it would be interesting to include what are called "serious games" (in this case board games) in the learning cycle for imaging techniques.

These games are intended to be used in both initial and continuing education to consolidate learning.

We have already created 3 games: "Kern Spin Academy", a board game based on questions and answers about MRI, a bit like a quiz, "A day at MRI", a board game representing the patient journey in MRI, and "Hounsfield Academy", he equivalent of Kern Spin Academy but dedicated to computed tomography.

And other games are in preparation!

Kern Spin Academy: learn MRI while playing! 

Our first creation is a board game based on alternating questions and answers about MRI. It consists of a game board, 210 cards each with a question and an answer, divided into 3 categories. Each category is associated with a color which is also that of the cards and spaces on the game board.

The object of the game is to get the 3 "rewards" (magnets, a nod to the MRI, of course) corresponding to a correct answer on the 3 specific spaces of intersection between the rays and the circle (called "Spin" spaces) and then back to the center of the board, and therefore to the center of the MRI magnet!

A first version of the game was tested during a continuing education session dedicated to teaching the basics of MRI (Understanding MRI - University of Strasbourg - May 2019).

General view of the game: box, game board, cards, chips, magnets, die.

The name "Kern Spin" in the title of the game comes from a joke between colleagues when discussing MRI, Kerspintomography being, originally, the German name for MRI, giving rise to a club of users: the Kern Spin Club!

In this game, each card includes a question on the front and an answer on the back which leaves enough space to also propose questions composed with images or diagrams .

Examples of double-sided cards from the 3 categories of the game: physical bases (green), sequences and image quality (blue), miscellaneous (yellow). Each card is numbered which makes it possible to associate a more detailed answer available on a digital tablet.

Each card is also numbered allowing easy association with a more detailed answer that can then be present to participants on a digital tablet. This system is very flexible thanks to build contextual links to the right questions.

Finally, to avoid having too many low-stakes spaces on either side of the "Spin" spaces, we've added "Play Again" spaces as well as special spaces requiring the draw of a card, kind of luck (or bad luck) card called "Club card".

More detailed answer to each question is visible on a digital tablet.

We were able to test the game a second time with the staff of an MRI unit (Hautepierre Hospital, Strasbourg University Hospitals).

Game test with RT of an MRI department (Hautepierre Hospital, Strasbourg University Hospitals).

In March 2022, we tested it with students in initial training (IMRT, Jean Rostand, Strasbourg) as part of a comparative protocol (group game versus individual MCQ, with the same questions).

We also collaborate with a training institute in Quebec, Canada (CEGEP Rimouski) which implemented the same procedure a few weeks later.

With students, Jean Rostand high school in Strasbourg, France

With students, CEGEP in Rimouski, Quebec.


Finally, for the past few weeks, we have been organizing, in collaboration with the Bayer laboratory, professional and scientific meetings based on this game. These sessions take place directly in the imaging departments. The video presentation of these meetings is available on YouTube here.


In terms of prospects, we believe that this game could be translated into other languages ​​(English, German are under study). And we started developing it for other areas of imaging.

The English version of the board

The German version of the board

A day at MRI: MRI safety on a game board!

This game is intended for 4 groups of players. Each group has a quarter of the board represented by different colors.

You must guide a virtual patient, represented by a Playmobil figurine, into the MRI machine.

To move forward, you need:

- on the blue spaces: answer questions dedicated to MRI safety. As in the first game, the cards are numbered which allows them to be associated with a more detailed answer, presented to the participants on a digital tablet.

- on the red squares: collect "performance criteria" cards conditioning the final success of the exam. For this, it is necessary to rely on the request for examination of the virtual patient.

Example of a question card from the game A Day at MRI, to be drawn on the blue spaces

The “performance criteria” cards obviously depend on each virtual patient.

For example, for the patient who has a compatible MRI pacemaker (a), you must collect the “cardiologist visit”, “monitoring system”  and “implanted device manual” cards (c), the answers being available on the corresponding card (b).

For other patients, it may be necessary to recover only one card (or none).

The list of possible cards to recover is known to all players (on a summary sheet).


But it is up to the players to choose the right card(s) to collect during a patient's journey (3 cards maximum).

To perform the MRI exam for a given patient with success, players must therefore arrive with the patient in the MRI scanner room holding the right “performance criteria” cards. The latter are compared with a reference response card, available per patient.

The success of an exam is materialized by obtaining a magnet.

Summary sheet card listing all performance criteria

The team with the most successfully completed exams, wins the game.

Hounsfield Academy: to revise CT concepts!

Equivalent to the Kern Spin Academy game but dedicated to CT, it is made up of a game board, 189 cards each with a question and an answer, divided into 3 categories.

A first version of the game was tested during a continuing education session devoted to teaching the basics of scanners (X-ray scanner: How to optimize the steps, from acquisition to post-processing (continuing education, university of Strasbourg – March 2022).

Test of the game with RT (continuing education, University of Strasbourg – March 2022).

A definitive version of this game, featuring a renewed board, will be printed shortly.

Hounsfield Academy game board (CT)

Hounsfield Academy game box (CT)

Other games in progress

Other games based on the same rules are in preparation, for radiation protection, nuclear medicine or even dedicated to several modalities.

X Protect Academy game board (radiation protection)

Becquerel Academy game board (nuclear medicine)

Multimodal Academy game board (several modalities)

Also in preparation, a game dedicated to anatomy, called Anatomy Academy. The concept is different this time. The game is made up of cards with images of anatomical structures made using different medical imaging techniques: image on the front with an indication of the structure to be found, answer on the back. 5 anatomical regions have been selected: head and neck, thorax, abdomen and pelvis, upper limb and lower limb, which corresponds to 5 different card colors. For each correct answer, a piece of a puzzle from the corresponding region is collected (4 pieces per anatomical region). The object of the game is to complete the puzzle.

Anatomy Academy game box