Monday, August 19, 2013

Benefits of "gamification" and Stroke Therapy


I was devastated after presenting my first therapeutic exercise project, mindMender GMS (Gross Motor Skills), to the staff at USC. They said, and I quote, "Very nice but nobody is going to use it". Defeated but thankful for their candid evaluation I immediately started investigating how to "gamify" my "boring" line drawing exercise book.

Assuming our baseline for exercising plasticity in the brain is to use increasingly difficult repetitive exercises, gamification has the potential to provide significant benefit during therapy for stroke survivors especially when included as part of a Constraint Induced Therapy (CIT) regimen.

My previous post focused on the power of "gamification" and how it provides a sense of:

  • Autonomy
  • Competence
  • Socialization
Today's post focuses on the benefits of gamification with an emphasis on mobile devices. These are:
  • Accessibility
  • Portability
  • Trackability
Probably the most significant benefit is accessibility. Providing a "gamified" exercise on a mobile tablet allows the patient to engage in therapy anytime, anyplace, anywhere. As tablets become more affordable the potential for a stroke survivor to have access to one also increases. This presents the opportunity to exercise almost anytime. And if the exercise is engaging and "gamification" is integrated well the potential increase of rate of progress could be significant.

The inherent nature of a tablet makes it extremely portable providing a vehicle to exercise anyplace, anywhere. This could be in a car, a shopping mall, or at home anywhere in the world. The patient no longer is required to visit a facility for all their therapy. Some exercises they can now do in the comfort of their own home.

Last, and certainly not any less important, is the ability to view unaltered and objective results. Again, well done gamification also track metrics that are important to clinicians and care givers. Through the computing power inherent in modern tablets a myriad of data can be collected and shared via user friendly charts and graphs and health data integrators like Validic.

The mindMender project is focused on providing well "gamified" therapeutic exercises for stroke and other brain injuries as well as for development of early eye-hand coordination skills.

Our Traffic Controller 2 game provides many of the essential gamification features. It is a line drawing game with three levels of difficulty. It tracks:
  • Speed of movement
  • Accuracy of touch
  • Accuracy of movement
Read more and download it from the Apple App Store at mindMender Projects.