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Disabil Rehabil. 2012;34(22):1880-6. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Virtual reality games for movement rehabilitation in neurological conditions: how do we meet the needs and expectations of the users?

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Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute, AUT University, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.



To review quantitative and qualitative studies that have examined the users' response to virtual reality game-based interventions in people with movement disorders associated with chronic neurological conditions. We aimed to determine key themes that influenced users' enjoyment and engagement in the games and develop suggestions as to how future systems could best address their needs and expectations.


There were a limited number of studies that evaluated user opinions. From those found, seven common themes emerged: technology limitations, user control and therapist assistance, the novel physical and cognitive challenge, feedback, social interaction, game purpose and expectations, and the virtual environments. Our key recommendations derived from the review were to avoid technology failure, maintain overt therapeutic principles within the games, encompass progression to promote continuing physical and cognitive challenge, and to provide feedback that is easily and readily associated with success.


While there have been few studies that have evaluated the users' perspective of virtual rehabilitation games, our findings indicate that canvassing these experiences provides valuable information on the needs of the intended users. Incorporating our recommendations may enhance the efficacy of future systems to optimize the rehabilitation benefits of virtual reality games.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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