Imprimir Republish


Rehabilitation games

Hand movements control the character on the screen and stimulate motor activity

UFSCARHand movements control the character on the screen and stimulate motor activityUFSCAR

In order to stimulate the motor and cognitive activities of people with spinal cord or brain injuries, researchers at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) have developed computer programs that recognize human gestures and make it possible to interact with popular games and platforms like Chess, Pacman, and Google Street View. The idea is to provide entertaining, physically active interactions with virtual environments without depending on a keyboard or mouse. According to researcher Alexandre Fonseca Brandão, doctoral candidate with the Graduate Program in Biotechnology (PPGBiotec) at UFSCar, the use of these programs also helps counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle by offering an alternative to the type of interactions that take place during traditional games. One example is the program GestureChair, which was developed on the basis of a version of Pacman. “The user controls the character by quickly swiping his hands up, down, left or right,” Brandão explains. In this case, the computer has to be equipped with a motion sensor. “Rehabilitation therapy encourages and helps patients re-learn to control damaged functions and achieve greater independence, enabling them to improve their quality of life,” he says. “GestureChair is designed for paraplegics, who have decreased function in their trunks and lower limbs but not in their upper limbs.