RESEARCH: Let’s Kinect to Increase Balance and Coordination of Older People: Pilot Testing of a Balloon Catching Game

International Journal of Virtual Worlds and Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2, Issue 1, Year 2014 – Pages 37-46
Claire Davies, Thomas Vinumon, Lynne Taylor, John Parsons

Abstract– The purpose of this research was to design, develop and assess the usability of an interactive rehabilitation game. User centered design in combination with serious gaming strategies were employed in the design of a targeted therapy programme to encourage at home balance retraining using specifically designed software with the Microsoft Kinect sensor. The development of this game involved a multi-disciplinary iterative design method employing the skills of physiotherapists, engineers and participants. Preliminary testing was conducted with younger adults and more formal testing with older participants to evaluate usability. Integrating the knowledge of all stakeholders increased the acceptability of the game by older participants. All were confident in the use of the technology and keen to increase their participation. Participants indicated on a usability questionnaire that these games are more engaging than typical therapy exercises. The games can be performed at home without the requirement for a partner and the participant can increase the game complexity depending on personal needs and preference. The time that the individual spends participating in the program and the results over several sessions can also be observed by the therapist allowing a better indication of adherence to therapy than self-report.

Keywords: Kinect, older people, physiotherapy, balance, coordination.

Full article here

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