Together with therapists, patients and gaming companies, we are developing games for rehabilitation technology or e-health applications to improve treatment outcomes in healthcare. Under supervision or independently, patients can train with a schedule of exercises that gradually become more difficult. Games motivate and facilitate therapy compliance. Via the game, therapists can receive feedback about progress and adjust the game settings where necessary.

To help determine how to provide each target group with an appropriate game, we itemised which groups of people prefer specific types of games and translated this information into guidelines for the design. For example, elderly people prefer quieter games in which they can discover new worlds and that do not have a clear final goal.

Various applications
We deploy games in various manners. In the first place, we use games in combination with other technology, such as robotics, to train the gait function, for example. In these cases, we mainly use the game to motivate people to keep doing these exercises.

Another option is using the game itself for rehabilitation therapy. For example, we have used mixed reality in an application to train arm/hand function. A video projector projects a game onto a table and the rehabilitants control the game by picking up, moving (reaching out for), manipulating and letting go of real objects.

In a third approach, we use games in e-health solutions to motivate people in their daily lives to do exercises or to change their lifestyle. For example, we are working on a HealthNavigator that uses tourist information to persuade people with heart conditions to go for a walk. During the walk, we measure the heart rate and activity and coach the patient based on this information. For example, if the user becomes tired, he or she will receive a tip on how to shorten the route.

Working method
Together with end users, care professionals and patients, we itemise which requirements and wishes a game should satisfy. We translate the user requirements into technical specifications, design targets and boundary conditions for the game. We always develop the content of the game in several iterative stages in which each design cycle ends with a test phase performed by end users. Within these play tests, we examine whether the game elicits the right behaviour. We also assess whether end users find the game attractive. Based on the outcomes of these tests, we refine the design to realise a new prototype. This cycle is repeated until a well working prototype has been designed. We subsequently deploy the game in everyday care and investigate the use, motivation and clinical effects.

Projects

VIREP – Virtual Reality to support chronic pain rehabilitation

VIREP is a Virtual Reality application with biofeedback to support chronic pain rehabilitation. VIREP offers a motivating and safe virtual environment where clients can repeatedly practise daily activities and train their body awareness.

AIRplay – Gaming for children with asthma

AIRplay is an innovative gaming concept to support self-management of children with asthma. AIRplay consists of a personalised, gamified app for monitoring and coaching in daily life and an interactive playground where children can play together, e.g. in the hospital.

HandsOn – Mixed-reality game for arm and hand function training

By linking reaching, grasping and releasing of a physical object to the control of a game, an intensive, motivating and meaningful training is accomplished. Moreover, this hybrid approach also results in a very natural form of sensory feedback, e.g. touch, proprioception and eye-hand coordination.

Gryphon Rider – Balance game

Gryphon Rider is an applied exergame for balance training. The game is controlled by the player’s movements. By making adjustments, the challenge of the game can be matched with the skills of the individual rehabilitant. Different difficulty levels are available, with progressing balance exercises.

Other projects within this expertise

Maggygame – More exercise for the elderly

Please contact

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Monique Tabak
Sr. researcher / biomedical engineer

088 087 5744
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Anke Kottink – Hutten
Researcher / human movement scientist

088 087 5733