Usage of VR Headsets for Rehabilitation Exergames

  • Martina Eckert
  • José Zarco
  • Juan Meneses
  • José-Fernán Martínez
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10209)


The work presented here is part of a large project aimed at finding new ways to tackle exergames used for physical rehabilitation. The preferred user group consists of physically impaired who normally cannot use commercially available games; our approach wants to fill a niche and allow them to get the same playing experience like healthy. Four exercises were implemented with the Blender Game engine and connected to a motion capture device (Kinect) via a modular middleware. The games incorporate special features that enhance weak user movements, such that the avatar reacts in the same way as for persons without physical restrictions. Additionally, virtual reality glasses have been integrated to achieve a more immersive feeling during play. In this work, we compare the results of preliminary user tests, performed with and without VR glasses. Test outcomes are good for motion amplification in some of the games but do not present generally better results when using the VR glasses.


Kinect Motion capture Virtual reality Rehabilitation Exergame Head Mounted Display Physical disability Motor function impairments 



This work was sponsored by the Spanish National Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation: TEC2013-48453-C2-2-R.


  1. 1.
    Hondori, H.M., Khademi, M.A.: Review on technical and clinical impact of Microsoft Kinect on physical therapy and rehabilitation. J. Med. Eng. 2014, 846514–846530 (2014)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Apparelyzed. Spinal Cord Injury and Cauda Equina Syndrome Support Forum.
  3. 3.
    Webster, D., Celik, O.: Systematic review of Kinect applications in elderly care and stroke rehabilitation. J. Neuroeng. Rehabil. 11(108), 1–24 (2014)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Skjæret, N., et al.: Exercise and rehabilitation delivered through exergames in older adults: an integrative review of technologies, safety and efficacy. Int. J. Med. Inform. 85, 1–16 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    Pirovano, M. et al.: Self-adaptive games for rehabilitation at home. In: IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, pp. 179–186 (2012)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Borghese, N.A., Mainetti, R., Pirovano, M., Lanzi, P.L.: An intelligent game engine for the at-home rehabilitation of stroke patients. In: IEEE 2nd International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health, pp. 1–8 (2013)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Roy, A.K., Soni, Y., Dubey, S.: Enhancing effectiveness of motor rehabilitation using kinect motion sensing technology. In: IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference: South Asia Satellite (GHTC-SAS), pp. 298–304 (2013)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Meleiro, P., Rodrigues, R., Jacob, J., Marques, T.: Natural user interfaces in the motor development of disabled children. Procedia Technol. 13, 66–75 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kaminer, C., LeBras, K., McCall, J., Phan, T., Naud, P., Teodorescu, M., Kurniawan, S.: An immersive physical therapy game for stroke survivors. In: Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS 2014 (2014)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shaw, L.A., et al.: Challenges in virtual reality exergame design. In: 16th Australasian User Interface Conference, Sydney (2015)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Finkelstein, S., et al.: Astrojumper: motivating exercise with an immersive virtual reality exergame. Presence Teleoperators Virtual Environ. 20, 78–92 (2011). MIT PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Eckert, M., Gómez-Martinho, I., Meneses, J., Martinez, J.F.: A multi functional plug-in for exergames. In: International Symposium on Consumer Electronics, Madrid, pp. 4–6 (2015)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eckert, M., Gómez-Martinho, I., Meneses, J., Martínez, J.F.: A modular middleware approach for exergaming. In: IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics, Berlin, pp. 172–176 (2016)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Eckert, M., Gómez-Martinho, I., Meneses, J., Martínez, J.F.: New approaches to exciting exergame-experiences for people with motor function impairments. Sensors 17(15), 1–22 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kinect for Windows SDK v1.8.
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
    Oculus Rift V.R.
  19. 19.
    OSVR Developer Portal.
  20. 20.
    Blender Foundation

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Eckert
    • 1
  • José Zarco
    • 1
  • Juan Meneses
    • 1
  • José-Fernán Martínez
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación en Tecnologías Software y Sistemas Multimedia para la Sostenibilidad (CITSEM), Campus Sur Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)MadridSpain

Personalised recommendations