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Development of a Virtual Reality-Based Game Approach for Supporting Sensory Processing Disorders Treatment

1
Department of Computer Science, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte 31270901, Brazil
2
Occupational Therapist, Ampliar Pampulha, Belo Horizonte 31275080, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in 2018 IEEE 6th International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH), Vienna, Austria, 16–18 May 2018; doi:10.1109/SeGAH.2018.8401355.
Information 2019, 10(5), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/info10050177
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 25 April 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH 2018))
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Abstract

Serious games for health are those that are not aimed solely at entertainment, but rather at supporting health treatments. In this paper, we develop and assess the proposal of a Virtual Reality (VR) game aimed at supporting Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) treatment. SPD is a condition which affects the integration and processing of the various stimuli coming from inside and outside of the body and its treatment involves providing patients with controlled sensory stimuli. Our goal is to investigate whether a Virtual Reality game that can stimulate different sensory systems could be useful in SPD treatment. In order to do so, we have designed and developed Imaginator, a VR Roller Coaster Game connected with a Head Mounted-Display (HMD) which can be customized by therapists to adjust its stimuli to different patients’ needs in therapy. Imaginator was assessed by five occupational therapists through its use in their treatment sessions. Each therapist had the game available in their therapy environment for around 2–3 weeks. They were instructed to use the game whenever they thought it could be interesting to a patient’s treatment. After the trial period, they were interviewed about their experience in using the game and their perception of its impact in therapy sessions. Our results show that therapists in general perceived Imaginator as having a positive effects in patients’ treatment. They noticed that it was able to stimulate different senses, and they reported that in some cases it was able to help patients relax, increase their concentration and even work as an encouragement to explore similar activities in the physical world. There were a few patients who experienced some adverse reactions, such as nausea, but nothing that they felt was worrying or that could prevent the game from being used. View Full-Text
Keywords: Serious Games; Virtual Reality; Head Mounted Display; Sensory Processing Dysfunctions; SPD; HMD Serious Games; Virtual Reality; Head Mounted Display; Sensory Processing Dysfunctions; SPD; HMD
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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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Rossi, H.; Prates, R.; Santos, S.; Ferreira, R. Development of a Virtual Reality-Based Game Approach for Supporting Sensory Processing Disorders Treatment. Information 2019, 10, 177.

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