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Top Stroke Rehabil. 2010 Sep-Oct;17(5):345-52. doi: 10.1310/tsr1705-345.

Development of an interactive game-based rehabilitation tool for dynamic balance training.

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Medical Virtual Reality Group, Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California, Playa Vista, California, USA.


Conventional physical therapy techniques have been shown to improve balance, mobility, and gait following neurological injury. Treatment involves training patients to transfer weight onto the impaired limb to improve weight shift while standing and walking. Visual biofeedback and force plate systems are often used for treatment of balance and mobility disorders. Researchers have also been exploring the use of video game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii Fit as rehabilitation tools. Case studies have demonstrated that the use of video games may have promise for balance rehabilitation. However, initial usability studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that the current commercial games are not compatible with controlled, specific exercise required to meet therapy goals. Based on focus group data and observations with patients, a game has been developed to specifically target weight shift training using an open source game engine and the Nintendo Wii Fit Balance Board. The prototype underwent initial usability testing with a sample of clinicians and with persons with neurological injury. Overall, feedback was positive, and areas for improvement were identified. This preliminary research provides support for the development of a game that caters specifically to the key requirements of balance rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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