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Serious Game Assisting Children With Cerebral Palsy

Gloob Rescue - Image credit: Design Interactive, Inc.

Gloob Rescue, developed by Design Interactive, Inc., is this year’s winner of the People’s Choice Award at SGS&C.

Gloob Rescue merges rehabilitation with gaming by having players rescue fun characters (Gloobs) using a Kinect-based tracking system. It was designed to assist children with cerebral palsy (CP) as a rehabilitation focused game to expand upper limb strength, range of motion, and rehabilitation progress.

The game was developed under National Science Center (NSF) funding and in partnership with cerebral palsy experts at the Conductive Education Center of Orlando (CECO), Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), and Blue Orb.

The primary audience for the game is children (K-6) with limited range of motion of their upper extremities (arms, elbow, and shoulder).


Gloob Rescue - Image credit: Design Interactive, Inc.

Gloob Rescue integrates with a Microsoft Kinect v2 to track user motion and drive individualized training progression. Gloob characters have fallen into a pit of goo and need to be freed. Players move their hands over the Gloobs for an adjustable period of time (0.5 – 5 seconds), to free them. Users are given an adjustable period of time, based on their training progression (00:00 – 59:59 minutes), to rescue the Gloobs. The game ends when a user has rescued all 8 Gloobs, or the time has expired. Gloob placement and hover duration incrementally increase to drive training progression.

Gloob Rescue - Image credit: Design Interactive, Inc.

Score is accumulated by number of Gloobs saved. Additionally, skill progression can be measured by decreasing the time provided to save all 8 Gloobs, and increasing the ‘hold’ time. Finally, joint angles and limb positions are captured by the Kinect and determine the player’s training progression in terms of increased mobility, strength, and range of motion.

Gloob Rescue takes an innovative approach towards game based rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy (CP). It allows for upper limb rehabilitation of audiences with cerebral palsy by: using body movements as game inputs; is themed for a young audience; is based on motions associated with self-care and feeding; is usable by a wide-range of users with CP; and is considered interesting and motivating by users with CP.

Gloob Rescue utilizes colorful custom made graphics, physical activity training, and variable user set difficulty to provide a higher level game in a way not commonly provided for this user population. In addition, very little information regarding training progression is generally provided to parents of children with cerebral palsy. Gloob Rescue allows for game-based training, with quantitative biomechanical information (range of motion, strength) provided to therapists and parents to track upper limb rehabilitation progress.

Tested in partnership with the Conductive Education Center of Orlando (CECO) – a specialty school which provides CP rehabilitation and training in a group setting - use of the game resulted in improvements in upper limb function, strength, and range of motion.