Serious games for movement therapy after stroke
Ma M., Bechkoum K.
This paper details the development and testing of a serious-game based movement therapy aimed at encouraging stroke patients with upper limb motor disorders to practice physical exercises. The system contains a series of Virtual Reality (VR) games. A framework for VR movement therapy is described which consists of a number of serious games designed to encourage patients' physical activity in highly motivating, virtual environments where various factors such as size and gravity can be scaled to adapt to individual patient's abilities and in-game performance. Another goal of this study is to determine whether the provision of serious games based interventions improves motor outcome after stroke. A pilot study with 8 participants who have a first hemispheric stroke shows improvements on impairment measurement and functional measurement shortly after completion of the intervention and 6 weeks after the intervention. Despite its limitations the findings of this study support the effectiveness of serious games in the treatment of participants with hemiplegia. The study also raises awareness of the benefits of using serious games in movement therapy after stroke. © 2008 IEEE.