The Co-design of Hand Rehabilitation Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis Using Hand Tracking System
Multiple sclerosis (MS) often affects motor function, leading to an adverse effect on daily living. Rehabilitation is important in terms of improving mobility and activities of daily living. Virtual environments (VE) are increasing in popularity within this research area, but research in terms of VE is still rare, for both the upper and lower limb, in people with MS. Leap Motion (LM), a hand motion tracking system, has demonstrated success in stroke research but has yet to be investigated within MS. Following a co-design approach, five participants with MS discussed in a focus group (FG) their hand mobility issues, their thoughts about this technology-based rehabilitation and motivational factors. Findings were incorporated into the design of a series of gamified upper limb rehabilitation exercises, using LM, on Unity Game Engine. Three participants returned and engaged in user testing session and a FG in order to evaluate and discuss their experience. Overall participants found the proposed technology-based exercises to be engaging, immersive and a desirable approach to rehabilitation. Participant feedback underlined the usefulness of co-creation, especially in accommodating the range of motivators and user preferences. However, the study highlighted the loss of tracking of hand movements with LM as one of the limitations. Participants stated they would be likely to use this approach at home if there was a definite rehabilitation benefit and related more to visualising which muscle groups or actions they were aiming to improve.
KeywordsMultiple sclerosis rehabilitation Hand motion tracking rehabilitation Co-design Virtual environments Leap motion
The authors wish to give thanks to the participants who kindly took the time to take part in this study.
This research project was granted ethical approval after a Full PGT (Post-Graduate Taught) assessment and review by the Glasgow School of Art PGT Ethics Committee.
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