Advent Calendar 2009

3 – Serious Health Games for Stroke Rehabilitation

Today, on the third of December, we tackle a serious (and very good) presentation from James Burke, a Ph.D. student from the University of Ulster, who researches games for serious purposes (so-called Serious Games) such as stroke rehabilitation. Games can be ideal motivators for patients to engage in upper limb post-stroke rehabilitation exercises. For this purpose, Burke and his team developed a number of Webcam games to foster patient exercise (and Wii games are also discussed such as the Wii Vibraphone game for wrist rehabilitation).

Similar to what is done with the Wii Fit and EA Sports Active exercise games, the patient (or gamer) profile is stored to track progress of the exercises. The presentation also talks about the technology and game design ideas behind making these health games. The main takeaway here for me is that the intuitive input control of camera and sensors has great potential for rehabilitation or serious games.


J. W. Burke, M. D. J. McNeill, D. K. Charles, P. J. Morrow, S. M. McDonough, J. H. Crosbie, “Serious Games for Upper Limb Rehabilitation Following Stroke“, IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games ’09), 23-24 March 2009.

On slide 15, James talks about the limitation of the Wii Accelerometer to determine a position in 3D space. I have recently read a paper from David Scherfgen addressing 3D tracking with Wii remotes, which might be an interesting addition to this research:

Scherfgen, D. and Herpers, R. 2009. 3D tracking using multiple Nintendo Wii Remotes: a simple consumer hardware tracking approach. In Proceedings of the 2009 Conference on Future Play on @ GDC Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 12 – 13, 2009). FuturePlay ’09. ACM, New York, NY, 31-32.

Please also see Burke’s other publications


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