Archive for category Video Games/Exergames
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Using game features in non-game contexts, computers can learn to build personalized mental- and physical-therapy programs that enhance individual motivation, according to Penn State engineers.
“We want to understand the human and team behaviors that motivate learning to ultimately develop personalized methods of learning instead of the one-size-fits-all approach that is often taken,” said Conrad Tucker, assistant professor of engineering design and industrial engineering.
They seek to use machine learning to train computers to develop personalized mental or physical therapy regimens — for example, to overcome anxiety or recover from a shoulder injury — so many individuals can each use a tailor-made program.
“Using people to individually evaluate others is not efficient or sustainable in time or human resources and does not scale up well to large numbers of people,” said Tucker. “We need to train computers to read individual people. Gamification explores the idea that different people are motivated by different things.”
To begin creating computer models for therapy programs, the researchers tested how to most effectively make the completion of a physical task into a gamified application by incorporating game features like scoring, avatars, challenges and competition.
“We’re exploring here how gamification could be applied to health and wellness by focusing on physically interactive gamified applications,” said Christian Lopez, graduate student in industrial engineering, who helped conduct the tests using a virtual-reality game environment.
In the virtual-reality tests, researchers asked participants to physically avoid obstacles as they moved through a virtual environment. The game system recorded their actual body positions using motion sensors and then mirrored their movements with an avatar in virtual reality.
Participants had to bend, crouch, raise their arms, and jump to avoid obstacles. The participant successfully avoided a virtual obstacle if no part of their avatar touched the obstacle. If they made contact, the researchers rated the severity of the mistake by how much of the avatar touched the obstacle.
In one of the application designs, participants could earn more points by moving to collect virtual coins, which sometimes made them hit an obstacle.
“As task complexity increases, participants need more motivation to achieve the same level of results,” said Lopez. “No matter how engaging a particular feature is, it needs to move the participant towards completing the objective rather than backtracking or wasting time on a tangential task. Adding more features doesn’t necessarily enhance performance.”
Tucker and Lopez created a predictive algorithm — a mathematical formula to forecast the outcome of an event — that rates the potential usefulness of a game feature. They then tested how well each game feature motivated participants when completing the virtual-reality tasks. They compared their test results to the algorithm’s predictions as a proof of concept and found that the formula correctly anticipated which game features best motivated people in the physically interactive tasks.
The researchers found that gamified applications with a scoring system, the ability to select an avatar, and in-game rewards led to significantly fewer mistakes and higher performance than those with a win-or-lose system, randomized gaming backgrounds and performance-based awards.
Sixty-eight participants tested two designs that differed only by the features used to complete the same set of tasks. Tucker and Lopez published their results in Computers in Human Behavior.
The researchers chose the tested game features from the top-ranked games in the Google Play app store, taking advantage of the features that make the games binge-worthy and re-playable, and then narrowed the selection based on available technology.
Their algorithm next ranked game features by how easily designers could implement them, the physical complexity of using the feature, and the impact of the feature on participant motivation and ability to complete the task. If a game feature is too technologically difficult to incorporate into the game, too physically complex, does not offer enough incentive for added effort or works against the end goal of the game, then the feature has low potential usefulness.
The researchers would also like to use these results to boost workplace performance and personalize virtual-reality classrooms for online education.
“Game culture has already explored and mastered the psychological aspects of games that make them engaging and motivating,” said Tucker. “We want to leverage that knowledge towards the goal of individualized optimization of workplace performance.”
To do this, Tucker and Lopez next want to connect performance with mental state during these gamified physical tasks. Heart rate, electroencephalogram signals and facial expressions will be used as proxies for mood and mental state while completing tasks to connect mood with game features that affect motivation.
The National Science Foundation funded this research.
The work presented here is part of a large project aimed at finding new ways to tackle exergames used for physical rehabilitation. The preferred user group consists of physically impaired who normally cannot use commercially available games; our approach wants to fill a niche and allow them to get the same playing experience like healthy. Four exercises were implemented with the Blender Game engine and connected to a motion capture device (Kinect) via a modular middleware. The games incorporate special features that enhance weak user movements, such that the avatar reacts in the same way as for persons without physical restrictions. Additionally, virtual reality glasses have been integrated to achieve a more immersive feeling during play. In this work, we compare the results of preliminary user tests, performed with and without VR glasses. Test outcomes are good for motion amplification in some of the games but do not present generally better results when using the VR glasses.
RGS is a highly innovative Virtual Reality (VR) tool for the rehabilitation of deficits that occur after brain lesions and has been successfully used for the rehabilitation of the upper extremities after stroke.
The RGS is based on the neurobiological considerations that plasticity of the brain remains throughout life and therefore can be utilized to achieve functional reorganization of the brain areas affected by stroke. This can be realized by means of activation of secondary motor areas such as the so called mirror neurons system.
RGS deploys a deficit oriented training approach. Specifically, while training with RGS the patient is playing individualized games where movement execution is combined with the observation of correlated actions performed by a virtual body. The system optimizes the user’s training by analyzing the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the user’s performance. This warranties a detailed assessment of the deficits of the patient and their recovery dynamics.
also see specs.upf.edu
Saebo, Inc., is a leading global provider of innovative rehabilitation products for stroke survivors and other neurologically impaired individuals. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, the company was founded in 2001 by two occupational therapists specializing in stroke rehabilitation. As the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S., stroke affects over 700,000 Americans every year, leaving many with crippling side affects including the loss of hand function. Saebos pioneering treatment protocols are based on new research documenting the brains remarkable ability to re-program itself following injury.
The companys neurological orthotic devices, including the ground-breaking SaeboFlex and SaeboReach, allow patients with very little residual arm and hand function to immediately begin performing task-oriented, grasp and release activities, thereby forging new pathways in the brain. Named Most Valuable Product in 2008 by Therapy Times, the Saebo Program is now offered as a treatment option at over 2,000clinics and hospitals nationwide, including 22 of the Top 25 Rehabilitation Hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The Saebo orthoses are also eligible for reimbursement by Medicare and most commercial insurers. With a network of over 6,000 trained clinicians spanning four continents, Saebo is committed to helping stroke survivors around the globe achieve a new level of independence.
[Abstract+References] A Serious Games Platform for Cognitive Rehabilitation with Preliminary Evaluation
In recent years Serious Games have evolved substantially, solving problems in diverse areas. In particular, in Cognitive Rehabilitation, Serious Games assume a relevant role. Traditional cognitive therapies are often considered repetitive and discouraging for patients and Serious Games can be used to create more dynamic rehabilitation processes, holding patients’ attention throughout the process and motivating them during their road to recovery. This paper reviews Serious Games and user interfaces in rehabilitation area and details a Serious Games platform for Cognitive Rehabilitation that includes a set of features such as: natural and multimodal user interfaces and social features (competition, collaboration, and handicapping) which can contribute to augment the motivation of patients during the rehabilitation process. The web platform was tested with healthy subjects. Results of this preliminary evaluation show the motivation and the interest of the participants by playing the games.
Strokes are the most common cause of long-term disability of adults in developed countries. Continuous participation in rehabilitation can alleviate some of the consequences, and support recovery of stroke patients. However, physical rehabilitation requires commitment to tedious exercise routines over lengthy periods of time, which often cause patients to drop out of this form of therapy. In this context, game-based stroke rehabilitation has the potential to address two important barriers: accessibility of rehabilitation, and patient motivation.
This paper provides a review of design efforts in human-computer interaction (HCI) and gaming research to support stroke rehabilitation.
The implementation of computer games in physical therapy is motivated by characteristics such as attractiveness, motivation, and engagement, but these do not guarantee the intended therapeutic effect of the interventions. Yet, these characteristics are important variables in physical therapy interventions because they involve reward-related dopaminergic systems in the brain that are known to facilitate learning through long-term potentiation of neural connections. In this perspective we propose a way to apply game design approaches to therapy development by “designing” therapy sessions in such a way as to trigger physical and cognitive behavioral patterns required for treatment and neurological recovery. We also advocate that improving game knowledge among therapists and improving communication between therapists and game designers may lead to a novel avenue in designing applied games with specific therapeutic input, thereby making gamification in therapy a realistic and promising future that may optimize clinical practice.
[Abstract] Gaming-based virtual reality therapy for the rehabilitation of upper extremity function after stroke.
Objective To investigate the effects of playing virtual reality games on the recovery of hemiplegic upper extremities after stroke.
Methods Thirty stroke patients with hemiplegic upper extremities were randomly assigned to a treatment group (n=15) or a control group (n=15).Both groups received routine medication and conventional physical therapy,while the treatment group was additionally given (Nintendo) gaming-based virtual reality therapy.Before and after 2 weeks of treatment,the patients in both groups were evaluated using the Fugl-Meyer Assessment for the Upper Extremities (FMA-UE),Brunnstrom staging and co-contraction ratios (CRs).Surface electromyogram signals from the biceps brachii and triceps brachii were also recorded during maximum isometric voluntary flexion and extension of the affected elbow.
Results No significant differences in any of the measurements were observed between the 2 groups before or after the intervention.Both groups demonstrated significant increases in their average FMA-UE score,Brunnstrom staging and CRs.
Conclusions Virtual reality gaming using a Wii controller is as effective as conventional therapy in enhancing upper extremity motor function and elbow flexion and extension after stroke.