Feasibility of an Exoskeleton-Based Interactive Video Game System for Upper Extremity Burn Contractures

PM R. 2016 May;8(5):445-52. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.09.012. Epub 2015 Sep 25.


Background: Burn contractures are common and difficult to treat. Measuring continuous joint motion would inform the assessment of contracture interventions; however, it is not standard clinical practice. This study examines use of an interactive gaming system to measure continuous joint motion data.

Objective: To assess the usability of an exoskeleton-based interactive gaming system in the rehabilitation of upper extremity burn contractures.

Design: Feasibility study.

Setting: Eight subjects with a history of burn injury and upper extremity contractures were recruited from the outpatient clinic of a regional inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Methods: Subjects used an exoskeleton-based interactive gaming system to play 4 different video games. Continuous joint motion data were collected at the shoulder and elbow during game play.

Main outcome measures: Visual analog scale for engagement, difficulty and comfort. Angular range of motion by subject, joint, and game.

Results: The study population had an age of 43 ± 16 (mean ± standard deviation) years and total body surface area burned range of 10%-90%. Subjects reported satisfactory levels of enjoyment, comfort, and difficulty. Continuous joint motion data demonstrated variable characteristics by subject, plane of motion, and game.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates the feasibility of use of an exoskeleton-based interactive gaming system in the burn population. Future studies are needed that examine the efficacy of tailoring interactive video games to the specific joint impairments of burn survivors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns
  • Contracture*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Upper Extremity
  • Video Games*