PHYSICAL THERAPY WITH COMPUTER GAMES
Physical therapy will become less of a burden and be more fun with computer games. Rehabilitation exercises became more motivating for patients in the computer game developed by Asst. Prof. Dr. Gazihan Alankuş, Lecturer at IUE Department of Computer Engineering. Patients earn points as they do their exercises.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Alankuş said that his project targeted patients who had stroke. “We’ve wondered how rehabilitation exercises would become more motivating for stroke patients. Patients have to repeat same moves for hundreds of times every day. This inspired us to work with physical therapists and develop a computer game. There is a flying balloon in the game and patients are able to play the game via a motion sensor attached to their bodies. As the patients lift up their arms, the balloon also goes up and down. If patients lay on their side, so does the balloon, causing patients to lose points. They can only earn points when they sit up straight and move their arms up and down, which allows them to do their exercises appropriately,” stated Alankuş.
“A TUBITAK Project”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Alankuş indicated that a noticeable progress was achieved as a result of a patient playing the game for one hour every day for 6 weeks and he said that the system, thanks to motion detectors, warned the patient in the event of a wrong move, and the patient lost points. She said that balloons in the game went up as the patients moved and the barriers in the game also were overcome through movements. Alankuş said, “Our goal is to make the patients do their exercises correctly. We’ve reached another step in our study and developed a TUBITAK project. We will be co-working with IUE Department of Psychology in this project that will last for 2 years. We will be developing software with Prof. Dr. Hakan Çetinkaya and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Seda Dural of Department of Psychology. We will use the brain imaging equipment in Department of Psychology to understand whether this learning takes place in the brain and to what extent it happens.”
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