Exergames have become a popular form of exercising among both kids and adults . Technology based gamified exercises serve as a motivator while assisting in performing the exercise regimen prescribed to the patient or user . As the popularity of Exergames escalates more and more research in the field of health and computer science is being done to test their effectiveness.
Recently, researchers from the Technology Research Center in Turku University in Finland explored two variations of custom made Exergames for the elderly. Their research: “PERCEPTIONS OF THE ELDERLY USERS OF MOTION TRACKING EXERGAMES” focused on increasing elderly physical wellbeing by using motion tracking techniques.
Usually the research of motion Exergames is done with expensive hardware such as 3D cameras and sensors. However, the university decided to use Extreme Reality’s software based motion tracking solution in order to prevent the confinement of Exergames to the lab. Using a software solution enables interactive exercises from any device with a simple webcam.
Turku University researchers designed the games specifically for the elderly taking into account certain factors such as the environment (rural and urban setting), game speed, and graphics. In game A users had to stand in front of a camera, controlling a boy on a scooter with their body movements while avoiding obstacles. Game B is a gamified physiotherapy tool providing the participants with fun and engaging exercises while they activate large muscle groups.
The research found that the participants did not have gerontechnology anxiety, but rather feared losing points in the game, which is a positive result that shows how gamification creates motivation. Several participants stated that playing an interactive motion game was a new yet interesting experience. The research concluded that in order to better the Exergame experience for the elderly, game clarity and graphics must improve to create a better understanding of the game flow.
The research paper was presented at the 8th IADIS International Conference Game and Entertainment Technologies 2015 and will be officially published in Q1 2016. The technology research center in Turku continues its research on the perceptions of Motion tracking based Exergames. Academic research using motion based software is essential in understanding how new technologies can help encourage the elderly to stay active and improve their lives.
For more information on how you can use Extreme Reality’s motion technology in your research visit http://www.xtr3d.com/area-of-expertise/students-grants/