Development of a Hardware/Software System for Proprioception Exergaming
Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are getting ever more relevance as an integral part of healthcare devising and employing new, effective methodologies and tools. However, not seldom are such tools boring and difficult to use properly for achieving the given training and therapeutic goals. Exergaming, the combination of physical exercise and video gaming, may help to overcome these issues by offering enjoyment and motivation. However, the literature lacks papers investigating how to integrate such devices into a serious game combining effectiveness and enjoyment. In this paper, we focus on the Balance Board (BB), a device used in gyms and in several health-related applications , and present an exergaming system for proprioception training. The system includes a BB, which was instrumented to act as a motion controller for an ad-hoc developed, simple 3D video game. The system aims to provide enjoyable training with the BB, boosting equilibrium exercising through the simulation of downhill skiing. We validated the score computation and tested the efficacy of the system in a user test with 40 participants, in ecological settings. The evaluation concerned user performance and a game experience questionnaire. The results showed statistically significant improvement in players’ ability to use the BB. Users also reported a positive gameplay experience.