Interviews

Mobile Game Unkore Aims to Save Lives Outside the Doctor’s Office (Part 3)

Yousuke Ishii

Dr. Yousuke Ishii, having finally seen the official release of the mobile game Unkore, recalls how selection for the INNO-vation Program became a great booster for his career.
Interviewer & Japanese Writer: Yamamoto Takaya; Translation & Editing: Matthew Cherry

For Dr. Yousuke Ishii, developer of the mobile game Unkore, selection for the INNO-vation Program was starting to reveal several of its positive impacts.

Before he knew it, he was being invited to various conventions and exhibitions. He also expressed delight in the opportunities he had to meet people he otherwise couldn’t have, such as Marina Fujiwara, who was also selected for the 2019 INNO-vation Program’s Disruptive Challenge.

Unko Tsuntsun, a virtual poop is displayed on screen

Unko Tsuntsun, a virtual stool-touching experience, is also in development.

“Another tremendous impact the program had on me was that I was able to get approval from Apple’s review on the App Store. I had submitted it for approval once before, but it was rejected. Once I reported in English that the app had received an award from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the submission was approved. I think it’s fair to say that I was able to release it on the App Store thanks to the INNO-vation Program,” Dr. Ishii recalled.

Unkore has currently been downloaded over 30,000 times and collected over 560,000 sets of stool data. With cooperation from endoscopy companies, tests are being conducted to link the collected data with data from actual endoscopic exams.

“No one’s ever been able to collect such a large amount of stool data before, so I believe there should be a lot of interest in it within the medical field,” he expects.

Dr. Ishii also holds a special interest in utilizing the power of ICT (Information & Communications Technology) for at-home medical care. He believes that a doctor’s role outside of the hospital will become vital in the near future, as medical professionals aren’t always able to respond in a timely and effective manner to outside needs from within the hospital. 

As an example, he notes that there aren’t many situations in which a doctor can directly tell a patient to come to the hospital. In general, doctors wait for their patients to come of their own accord, which can lead to illnesses worsening before they’re reported or even discovered. Dr. Ishii hopes that by linking home and hospital through the power of ICT, doctors will be able to observe symptoms quickly, personalize medical advice, and give patients the push they need to head to the hospital sooner or have their problems examined within the year.

“We would be able to provide medical advice to those who are on the verge of needing a hospital visit, as well as continue care in the home for those who have already been discharged. I think ICT is the perfect match for medical care outside of the hospital. I would love to proactively participate in such a medical care system,” Dr. Ishii stated, eyes sparkling.

Dr. Ishii had this parting message for those with unconventional ideas:

“Unkore might be a little too avant-garde to have been thrown into the world of video games, and it’s possibly even too avant-garde for the medical field. However, I believe that the very things that don’t fit into conventional constructs are what can be called the seeds of innovation and the concept of INNO-vation itself. I hope that others out there that have great ideas but are unsure of which industry or field it could fit into will also apply for the program.”

Dr. Yousuke Ishii

Dr. Yousuke Ishii

An idea that didn’t fit in saw its potential broadened by the INNO-vation Program. These words were spoken by the man who experienced it himself, Dr. Yousuke Ishii.


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