Lynne Gauthier, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, is leading the team creating a video game for the Microsoft Kinect that the team hopes could expand access to a specific kind of rehabilitation called constraint-induced movement therapy. The game would allow patients with mild-to-moderate upper-limb impairment to perform guided CI therapy in their homes.
The game uses Microsoft Kinect’s motion capture technology to guide patients through a series of therapeutic exercises set in a river adventure theme, Gauthier said. Patients would visit a clinic for initial consultation and the game would act as a consultant to guide them through exercises at home. Patients would also be given a restraint mitt to encourage them to use their affected side more often in daily activities.
“A lot of these kinds of rehab games are basically about just getting the person to move a lot,” she said. “But we’re trying to make it so that the game would stimulate what the therapist would do. Just as a therapist would make a task harder when the person improves, the game would do the same thing.”