Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media



Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

Health Tips Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Dec 18, 2013 - 2:24:25 PM



Video Game Feedback May Help the Injured Heal

By Staff Editor
Dec 18, 2013 - 2:19:30 PM



Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust


Email this article
 Printer friendly page

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 2013 -- Video gamers have long been familiar with the thrill of force feedback--the technology that allows players to feel the rumble of a racecar hitting a virtual road or sense the weight of wielding an on-screen sword.  A team of researchers from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) and Sapienza University of Rome have now published findings showing that force feedback is much more than fun. Combined with science learning in a therapeutic setting, it may even be healing.

A paper in the journal PLOS ONE details the experiments devised and performed by NYU-Poly's Maurizio Porfiri, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Oded Nov, associate professor of technology management and innovation, along with Professor Paolo Cappa, an NYU-Poly affiliated faculty member, and visiting master student Andrea Clerico of Sapienza University of Rome.

The use of robotic machines in physical therapy and rehabilitation has been evolving for more than two decades. So-called robot-mediated therapy (RMT) is viewed as too costly or complicated to implement in many care settings.  However, haptic devices--those that provide tactile or force feedback--have become less expensive and are now integrated into gaming joysticks, personal computers, mobile devices, and other everyday technologies. The researchers wanted to test the utility of these haptic devices in physical rehabilitation. In a novel twist, they also incorporated science education elements into the experimental tasks to gauge if such content increased participants' engagement with the exercises.

The team devised a series of experiments on 48 healthy test subjects to determine if force feedback delivered through a readily available, low-cost haptic gaming joystick would positively impact participants' ability to complete on-screen tasks.

They created a 2D virtual map of a popular local attraction, New York City's Bronx Zoo, and asked participants to use the joystick to move a cursor along a set path through the zoo. Short paragraphs of science trivia and information about the zoo popped up along the course, and subjects were asked to read this content when presented.

Participants were subjected to several types of force feedback and a variety of assessments of their performance were calculated. The joystick delivered converging and diverging forces, pushing the cursor either toward or away from the proscribed path.

"These conditions meant that subjects had to make continual adjustments to counter the force feedback and keep the cursor on track, which affected speed, smoothness, accuracy, and hand position," said Porfiri. "The actions and movements we elicited are similar to the motor exercises used to rehabilitate upper-limb paralysis."

Perhaps one of the most significant findings was the impact of the learning modules. A post-task survey showed that the learning aspect increased participants' interest and engagement in the activity. "This has a particularly strong implication for rehabilitative therapies, as patients quickly grow bored of repetitive tasks," said Nov. "If we can maintain engagement by incorporating some form of learning, there may be greater motivation to perform the tasks and reap the therapeutic benefits."

The research team believes that further studies are warranted, both to test the haptic device in patients with partially paralyzed upper limbs, and to test different types of learning content. The use of specially tuned affordable haptic devices may make it possible for patients to complete sophisticated rehabilitative tasks at home--and flex their mental muscles, too.

This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Italian Ministry of Health Department of Medical Devices and Drugs, and the Honours Center of Italian Universities.

The paper, "Can Force Feedback and Science Learning Enhance the Effectiveness of Neuro-Rehabilitation? An Experimental Study on Using a Low-Cost 3D Joystick and a Virtual Visit to a Zoo," is at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0083945#B1.

The Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and the Polytechnic University, now widely known as NYU-Poly) is an affiliated institute of New York University, and will become its School of Engineering in January 2014. NYU-Poly, founded in 1854, is the nation's second-oldest private engineering school. It is presently a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a 159-year tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. It remains on the cutting edge of technology, innovatively extending the benefits of science, engineering, management and liberal studies to critical real-world opportunities and challenges, especially those linked to urban systems, health and wellness, and the global information economy. In addition to its programs on the main campus in New York City at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it offers programs around the globe remotely through NYUe-Poly. NYU-Poly is closely connected to engineering in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai and to the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) also at MetroTech, while operating two incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more information, visitwww.poly.edu.

Web Site: http://www.poly.edu
###
For advertising and promotion on HealthNewsDigest.com, call Mike McCurdy: 877-634-9180 or [email protected] We have over 7,000 journalists as subscribers.



Top of Page

HealthNewsDigest.com

Health Tips
Latest Headlines


+ 8 Signs Your Loved One is Ready for In-Home Care
+ Tips for Cleaning Up Eating Habits
+ 7 Health Problems You Didn’t Know Your Eye Doctor Can See First
+ Double Duty Spring Cleaning: Keep Healthy and Tidy
+ Learn To Swim, Save Your Life
+ Best Bets For A Healthy Back
+ Tips to Reduce the Risk of Pneumonia if You or a Loved One is Hospitalized
+ Tips for Vein Health
+ 5 Tips for a Safer Spring Break
+ The Fashion Doctor is in the House



Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions