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Sensors 2017, 17(2), 354; doi:10.3390/s17020354

New Approaches to Exciting Exergame-Experiences for People with Motor Function Impairments

Centro de Investigación en Tecnologías Software y Sistemas Multimedia para la Sostenibilidad (CITSEM), Campus Sur Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Madrid 28031, Spain
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Academic Editor: Gonzalo Pajares Martinsanz
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 12 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Spain 2016)
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Abstract

The work presented here suggests new ways to tackle exergames for physical rehabilitation and to improve the players’ immersion and involvement. The primary (but not exclusive) purpose is to increase the motivation of children and adolescents with severe physical impairments, for doing their required exercises while playing. The proposed gaming environment is based on the Kinect sensor and the Blender Game Engine. A middleware has been implemented that efficiently transmits the data from the sensor to the game. Inside the game, different newly proposed mechanisms have been developed to distinguish pure exercise-gestures from other movements used to control the game (e.g., opening a menu). The main contribution is the amplification of weak movements, which allows the physically impaired to have similar gaming experiences as the average population. To test the feasibility of the proposed methods, four mini-games were implemented and tested by a group of 11 volunteers with different disabilities, most of them bound to a wheelchair. Their performance has also been compared to that of a healthy control group. Results are generally positive and motivating, although there is much to do to improve the functionalities. There is a major demand for applications that help to include disabled people in society and to improve their life conditions. This work will contribute towards providing them with more fun during exercise. View Full-Text
Keywords: exergames; rehabilitation; Kinect; gamification; serious games; physical disability; muscle weakness; middleware; children; adolescents; adaptation exergames; rehabilitation; Kinect; gamification; serious games; physical disability; muscle weakness; middleware; children; adolescents; adaptation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Eckert, M.; Gómez-Martinho, I.; Meneses, J.; Martínez, J.-F. New Approaches to Exciting Exergame-Experiences for People with Motor Function Impairments. Sensors 2017, 17, 354.

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