A USER-SPECIFIC APPROACH TO DEVELOP AN ADAPTIVE VR EXERGAME FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH SCI
Patients with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) have limited time with supervised therapy in rehabilitation hospitals. This makes it imperative for them to continue regular therapy at home so they can maximize motor recovery especially for performing Activities of Daily Living (ADL). However, physical therapy can be tedious and frustrating leading to a lack of motivation. A novel upper extremity movement measurement tool was developed using a commercial VR system to rapidly and objectively measure an individual’s range of motion, velocity of movement on an individual gesture basis, and frequency of movements in a three-dimensional space. Further, an exergame with varied and customizable gameplay parameters was developed. Through the analysis of participant interaction with the exergame, we identified gameplay parameters that can be adjusted to affect the player’s perceived and physiological effort. We observed that VR has a significant motivational effect on range of motion of upper limbs in individuals with tetraplegia. The motion data and kernel density estimation is used to determine areas of comfort. Moreover, the system allowed calculation of joint torques through inverse kinematics and dynamics to serve as an analysis tool to gauge muscular effort. The system can provide an improved rehabilitation experience for persons with tetraplegia in home settings while allowing oversight by clinical therapists through analysis of mixed reality videos or it could be used as a supplement or alternative to conventional therapy.