Initial usability assessment of off-the-shelf video game consoles for clinical game-based motor rehabilitation
Authors: Lange, B.; Flynn, S.; Rizzo, A.
Source: Physical Therapy Reviews, Volume 14, Number 5, October 2009 , pp. 355-363(9)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:Aims/background: Off-the-shelf games for consoles such as the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo WiiFit and Sony PlayStation 2 EyeToy have been developed and tested for the purpose of entertainment. Many clinics are adopting the use of these off-the-shelf devices for exercise, social interaction and rehabilitation because they are affordable, accessible and can be used within the clinic and home. Our group carried out initial usability evaluations for these off-the-shelf games and a prototype game (using an off-the-shelf device) specifically developed for people with disabilities.
Methods: A series of studies have been undertaken through formative and summative evaluation and focus group research with a sample of people recovering from spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and stroke. Findings from two studies are presented. Following a demonstration and trial of the devices, observational and questionnaire data were collected to determine participants' perception of each system's usability, appeal and enjoyment.
Results: The first study involved evaluation and focus group discussions of seven participants (two females, five males) with SCI (n=4) and CVA (n=3). Findings indicated that interaction with the EyeToy interface appeared to be more intuitive than the use of the Wii-mote interaction device, although some participants had difficulty navigating the menu of the PlayStation EyeToy. The second study involved evaluation of six participants (SCI=4 males, TBI=1 male, CVA=1 female), aged between 25 and 58 years. The investigator was able to increase or decrease the difficulty of a game (developed specifically for bimanual rehabilitation task), using an off-the-shelf haptic feedback device, for each participant, depending on their skill level so that each participant was able to work at a level that was challenging to them. In both studies, participants reported that they would be more motivated to exercise if playing these types of games in both the clinic and home setting.
Conclusion: This series of usability tests is the first phase within a program of work using gaming for a range of physical disabilities. The use of virtual reality and video games for rehabilitation offers potential for motivating patients to perform specific therapy tasks.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292, USA
Publication date: 2009-10-01