A Serious Games Framework for Health Rehabilitation

A Serious Games Framework for Health Rehabilitation

Paula Alexandra Rego (School of Technology and Management, Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal and Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, Porto, Portugal), Pedro Miguel Moreira (School of Technology and Management, Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal and Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, Porto, Portugal) and Luís Paulo Reis (DSI/EEUM-Department of Information Systems, School of Engineering, University of Minho, Guimarães, Portugal and LIACC-Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, Porto, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/ijhisi.2014070101
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Abstract

Serious Games is a field of research that has evolved substantially with valuable contributions to many application domains and areas. Patients often consider traditional rehabilitation approaches to be repetitive and boring, making it difficult for them to maintain their ongoing interest and to assure the completion of the treatment program. This paper reviews Serious Games and the natural and multimodal user interfaces for the health rehabilitation domain. Specifically, it details a framework for the development of Serious Games that integrates a rich set of features that can be used to improve the designed games with direct benefits to the rehabilitation process. Highlighted features include natural and multimodal interaction, social skills (collaboration and competitiveness) and progress monitoring. Due to the rich set of features supported by the framework, the games' rehabilitation efficacy can be enhanced primarily from an increase in the patient's motivation when exercising the rehabilitation tasks.
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2. Serious Games In Health Rehabilitation Domain

Games can be used in the rehabilitation area to increase patient motivation in the rehabilitation sessions. Due to the repetitive nature of exercises, patient motivation is a key problem that has challenged traditional therapy sessions (Burke et al., 2009).

Most studies on rehabilitation show that an effective rehabilitation must be done early and must be intensive and repetitive (Burke, et al., 2009; Burke et al., 2010). As such, traditional rehabilitation approaches are often considered as repetitive and boring by the patients, resulting in difficulties to maintain their continuing interest and in assuring that they will complete the treatment program (Burke, et al., 2009). On the contrary, games can motivate and engage the patients’ attention and even distract them from their disability conditions due to a set of features that characterize them: games have a story, they require the ongoing engagement in some motor and cognitive activity, and they can offer feedback and levels of challenge and difficulty that can be adapted to the patient needs and skills.

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