As part of my research fellowship at the NYU Ability Project, I developed a suite of video game rehab activity prototypes using insights gained from fieldwork, observations of inpatient rehab at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, and clinician interviews. These games replicate various therapies done in occupational and physical therapy regimens. Using the microsoft Kinect, all game controls are gestural and tap users balance, upper-body mobility and strength. During this project, my aim was to gather valuable insights from stroke rehab clinicians and iterate on the design of my prototypes-based on clinician and user feedback to develop a system that is effective, pleasurable and playable in home settings.
The suite included gesture-controlled drawing, musical conductor, and card matching games. Each of which involve the movements and timing that are also used in exercise interventions done in rehabilitation. Adding the narrative gaming component is intended to make these exercises fun and engaging.
I spent one week in the inpatient unit taking notes and drawing the exercises that patients were doing as part of their stroke rehabilitation. After creating the initial prototype, I demoed this work for clinicians and interviewed them to get feedback about the design. I learned that patients with severe impairments from strokes have such limited mobility that they cannot move their upper body to complete the gestures required to play. I also learned that many patients had as a result of their stroke, adopted compensatory joint positions. The common patterns/positions that are found in patients are:
Flexion synergy pattern (contraction)
Inner Rotation & Extensor synergy pattern (on right):
In response to this initial feedback, I incorporated a table top mode and detection/notification of maladaptive positions into the stroke game.
On screen animated prompt
This animation plus accompanying text alert users when their shoulders are down.
To continue the development of this software, I hope to enroll a total of 10 clients into this study from NYU’s Rusk Rehabilitation (specifically, Dr. Raghavan’s Motor Recovery Research Lab at Rusk Rehabilitation Institute). Participation will involve 3 sessions after a participant's regular therapy, which will take place over approximately 3 weeks. Each of these visits will involve playing the games for 15 minutes and providing feedback based on a client survey.
Collaborators/Developers: Eozin Che, Ansh Patel