Chronic stroke survivors pilot-tested GesAircraft, a video game for physical therapy that attempts to train skilled use of the affected arm and hand following stroke. This innovative, low-cost gaming system is a win-win for patients and therapists.
Often stroke survivors can become frustrated with post-recovery physical therapy since the act of performing therapy can be a constant reminder of what they were once able to do. Using a motion sensor to record movement from arms and hands a stroke survivor pilots an airplane through loops and obstacles. The game adapts and becomes more challenging as arm and hand movements improve. With gamification the stroke survivor's state of mind transforms from patient to video gamer instilled with the mentality of a need to get to the next level, and playing again and again to do so.
As for therapists, they receive precise recorded data of the patient's therapy session. The data recorded reduces time spent on evaluating patients and guides therapists for planning future therapy sessions. Therapists also benefit from the ability of using the device as a remote monitoring system in both a clinical rehabilitation setting as well as in patient homes. After one-on-one therapy sessions end patients are often sent home with physical therapy exercises. Using a low-cost gamification device can help therapy continue even when a therapist is not physically present.
The pilot test of GesAircraft has provided Dr. Putrino with valuable data and feedback to continue exploring gamification therapy. "We are rapidly working to increase the number of games that we can offer to stroke survivors," says Dr. Putrino, "whilst also expanding out to other neurological conditions such as Cerebral Palsy that require engaging motor training for rehabilitation."