A technical concept of a computer game for patients with Parkinson's disease - a new form of PC-based physiotherapy

Int J Neurosci. 2019 Aug;129(8):770-775. doi: 10.1080/00207454.2019.1567510. Epub 2019 Feb 20.


Background: At present, there are no meaningful and sophisticated computer games that simultaneously allow the treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson's syndrome. In particular, there are no systems to consider the severity of the disease and the physical skills of the patient. Methods: A computer game using the Microsoft Kinect as markerless sensor for the 3 D recognition of the patient's movement was developed to support the rehabilitation. The scenario of a basketball game was created after determining that the movement like throwing a ball and the correct posture of the body are important. A study based on system usability was performed with 15 patients to evaluate the system. Results: The technical feasibility of a computer-assisted training system for supporting patients with Parkinson's disease has been demonstrated. No markers on the patient are required for movement detection and allow a user-friendly handling. Regarding the usability study, the patients were accepting of such a system and its at-home use and symptoms like 'freezing' and the Pisa syndrome can be treated. Conclusions: The physiotherapist can be assisted by the developed rehabilitation system. An objective measurement of the patient's training progress delivers valuable information to adjust the training sessions for every patient individually. Due to its modular character, the system can also be applied to other diseases or sports injuries and offers the basis for further development.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; rehabilitation; serious games.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / instrumentation
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurological Rehabilitation / instrumentation
  • Neurological Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Video Games*