A Computer Game Based Motivation System for Human Physiology Studies

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7528)


Maximal strength testing of different muscle groups is a standard procedure in human physiology experiments. Test subjects have to exert maximum force voluntarily and are verbally encouraged by the investigator. The performance of the subjects is influenced by the verbal encouragement, but the encouragement procedure is not standardized or reproducible. To counter this problem a game-based motivation system prototype is developed to provide instant feedback to the subjects and also incentives to motivate them. The prototype was developed for the Biodex System 3 Isokinetic Dynamometer to improve the peak torque performance in an isometric knee extensor strength examination. Data analysis is performed on torque data from an existing study to understand torque response characteristics of different subjects. The parameters identified in the data analysis are used to design a shark-fish predator-prey game. The game depends on data obtained from the dynamometer in real time. A first evaluation shows that the game rewards and motivates the subject continuously over a repetition to reach the peak torque value. It also shows that the game rewards the user more if he overcomes a baseline torque value within the first second and then gradually increases the torque to reach the peak value.


serious game human physiology study game based motivation system visual encouragement 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Biodex (April 2012),
  2. 2.
    Physiology Laboratory at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (April 2012),
  3. 3.
    Campenella, B., Mattacola, C.G., Kimura, I.F.: Effect of visual feedback and verbal encouragement on concentric quadriceps and hamstrings peak torque of males and females. Isokinetics and Exercise Science 8, 1–6 (2000)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jung, M.C., Hallbeck, M.S.: Quantification of the effects of instruction type, verbal encouragement and visual feedback on static and peak handgrip strength. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 34, 367–374 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hald, R.D., Bottjen, E.J.: Effect of Visual Feedback on Maximal and Submaximal lsokinetic Test Measurements of Normal Quadriceps and Hamstrings. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy (1987)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Andreacci, J.L., Lemura, L.M., Cohen, S.L., Urbansky, E.A., Chelland, S.A., von Duvillard, S.P.: The effects of frequency of encouragement on performance during maximal exercise testing. Journal of Sports Sciences 20, 345–352 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    McNair, P.J., Depledge, J., Brettkelly, M., Stanley, S.N.: Verbal encouragement: effects on maximum effort voluntary muscle: action. British Journal of Sports Medicine 30, 243–245 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Figoni, S.F., Morris, A.F.: Effects of Knowledge of Results on Reciprocal, lsokinetic Strength and Fatigue. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 6, 190 (1984)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bogost, I.: The rhetoric of exergaming. In: Digital Arts and Cultures (DAC) Conference. IT University Copenhagen (December 2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Goebel, S., Hardy, S., Wendel, V., Mehm, F., Steinmetz, R.: Serious games for health: personalized exergames. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Multimedia 2010, pp. 1663–1666. ACM (2010)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lin, J.J., Mamykina, L., Lindtner, S., Delajoux, G., Strub, H.B.: Fish’n’Steps: Encouraging Physical Activity with an Interactive Computer Game. In: Dourish, P., Friday, A. (eds.) UbiComp 2006. LNCS, vol. 4206, pp. 261–278. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Merians, A.S., Jack, D., Boian, R., Tremaine, M., Burdea, G.C., Adamovich, S.V., Recce, M., Poizner, H.: Virtual reality–augmented rehabilitation for patients following stroke. Physical Therapy 82, 898–915 (2002)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Heidi, S.: Motor rehabilitation using virtual reality. Journal of NeuroEngineering and RehabilitationGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yannakakis, G.N., Togelius, J.: Experience-driven procedural content generation. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing 2, 147–161 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Burke, J.W., McNeill, M.D.J., Charles, D.K., Morrow, P.J., Crosbie, J.H., McDonough, S.M.: Serious games for upper limb rehabilitation following stroke. In: IEEE Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications, VS-GAMES 2009, pp. 103–110 (2009)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Visual ComputingBonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied SciencesSankt AugustinGermany
  2. 2.DLR Institute of Aerospace MedicineCologneGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Science and EngineeringYork UniversityOntarioCanada
  4. 4.Faculty of Computer ScienceUniversity of New BrunswickCanada

Personalised recommendations