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Viglialoro R. M.; Condino S.; Turini G.; Mamone V.; Carbone M.; Ferrari V.; Ghelarducci G.; Ferrari M.; Gesi M. "Interactive serious game for shoulder rehabilitation based on real-time hand tracking," Technology and Health Care

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BACKGROUND: Virtual reality is becoming popular in the rehabilitation field thanks to the several advantages it can offer to patients and physicians. Indeed, serious games can: motivate and engage the patient; offer different levels of challenge and difficulty based on the patient baseline, and integrate objective measures of the patient’s performance during each rehabilitation session. OBJECTIVE: We designed and implemented a serious game for shoulder rehabilitation based on real-time hand tracking. The aim was to maintain the medical benefits of traditional rehabilitation, while reducing human resources and costs and facilitating active patient participation. METHODS: Our software application provides the user with a shoulder horizontal adduction exercise. This exercise takes place in a 2D interactive game environment, controlled by hand movements on a desk pad. The hardware includes a standard desktop computer and screen, and the Leap Motion Controller: a hand tracking system. Changing the desk pad material allows the physiotherapist to vary the friction between the user hand and the supporting surface. RESULTS: Fourteen healthy volunteers and six rehabilitation experts tested our serious game. The results showed that the application is attractive, ergonomic and clinically useful. CONCLUSION: Despite promising results, clinical validation is necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of the serious game.