Saturday, February 27, 2010

PumaPhone to the Rescue!

In 35 days, the Pumaphone will soon be released and it might be another convergent device that not only lets us communicate but also track our physical activity patterns. Along with GPS, a pedometer (most likely accelerometer-based), compass, GPS run-tracker, and will have a built-in solar charger,  spin and scratch music player and radio tuner. [Via Medgadget]

Friday, February 26, 2010

Exegames are more demanding physically and motivating to play than sedentary games (Study)

Motivation and Physiologic Responses of Playing a Physically Interactive Video Game Relative to a Sedentary Alternative in Children

Amanda L. Penko  and Jacob E. Barkley

While there is emerging research outlining the physiologic cost of the physically interactive Nintendo Wii, there are no evaluations of the relative reinforcing value (RRV) of the Wii versus a sedentary alternative.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the physiologic cost, RRV, and liking of playing Wii Sports Boxing (Wii) versus a traditional sedentary video game (SVG) in 11 lean and 13 overweight/obese 8- to 12-year-old children.

Heart rate (HR) and VO2 were assessed during rest, treadmill walking, and playing an SVG and Wii using a counterbalance design. Liking was assessed during treadmill walking and video game play. RRV was assessed for Wii versus SVG.

Average HR, VO2, and liking were significantly greater for Nintendo Wii (p ≤ 0.001 for all) than all other conditions. Lean children displayed a greater (p < 0.001) peak responding for access to Wii relative to the SVG while overweight/obese children did not (p ≥ 0.16).

Wii was a well-liked activity of greater physiologic intensity than both the SVG and treadmill walking. Lean children were more motivated while overweight/obese children were equally as motivated to play Wii relative to the SVG.

Exergames rehab improved motor function for post-stroke patients (Study)

Effectiveness Of Virtual Reality Using Wii Gaming Technology In Stroke Rehabilitation (EVREST): Results From A Randomized Clinical Trial

**ExerGame Lab Note**
Both groups improved on their Wolf Motor Function Tests in fact there was a difference between groups at baseline:
Recreation therapy (RT):  103.9 seconds
Wii-Sports (VRWii): 28.2 seconds

Recreation therapy (RT):  28.0 seconds
Wii-Sports (VRWii): 19.8 seconds

In other words, relatively speaking the RT group who played Jenga improved their score by a factor of about 4 and the VRWii group improved by less than a factor of one.  Sure the VRWii group ended up scoring better on the post-test WMFT but the groups were not balanced to begin with.  The abstract should really mention that traditional forms of therapy like Jenga or any other clinically relevant therapeutic modality is also very effective at improving motor function.  To see if the differences were significant the researchers will probably have to run an ANCOVA to account for the differences in pre-test scores or other possible variable.

Gustavo Saposnik, Mark Bayley, Muhammad Mamdani, Donna Cheung, Kevin Thorpe, Univ of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Judith Hall, Applied Health Reearch Ctr, Toronto, ON, Canada; William McIlroy, Univ of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada; Jackeline Willems, Stroke Program, Toronto, ON, Canada; Robert Teasell, Univ of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada; Leonardo G. Cohen, Human Cortical Physiology and Stroke Neurorehabilitation Section, Natl Inst of Health, Bethesda, WA; Stroke Outcome Research Canada (SORCan) Working Group

Background: Evidence suggests that increasing intensity of rehabilitation results in better motor recovery. Nintendo introduced a new style of virtual reality (VR) by using a wireless controller that interacts with the player through a motion detection system captured and reproduced on a TV screen. Limited evidence is available on the effectiveness of an interactive virtual reality gaming system for stroke rehabilitation. Objective: to evaluate feasibility, safety and efficacy of VR using Nintendo Wii gaming technology on motor function during stroke rehabilitation.

Design: Pilot randomised, two parallel group study comparing VR using Wii gaming system (VRWii) vs. recreational therapy (RT) in patients receiving standard rehabilitation within 2 months after a mild/moderate stroke (arm deficit of ≥4 on the Chedoke-McMaster Scale).

Intervention: Patients were randomized to VRWii or RT (playing cards, ‘Jenga’). All received an intensive program of 8 sessions, 60 minutes each, over a 2-week period. Patients were instructed to primarily use their affected arm. Outcome Measures: The primary feasibility outcome is the total time receiving the intervention. The primary safety outcome is the proportion of patients experiencing intervention-related adverse events during the study period. Efficacy is a secondary outcome, measured using Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), Box and Block Test (BBT), and the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS) in the 4 week follow up visit.

Results: Among 111 screened patients, 22 were randomized. The mean age was 61 years. The mean time from stroke onset to randomization was 24 days (range 10-56). Groups were comparable in baseline characteristics. Mean grip strength was 19±15 kg in RT and 22±10 kg in VRWii. Primary and secondary end-points are summarized in the table. Conclusions: VR using Wii is a novel, safe, and feasible strategy to facilitate motor function after stroke that, if proven useful, could be easily implemented for home rehabilitation.

[Via American Heart Association and source]

Wii video games may help stroke patients improve motor function

Virtual reality game technology using Wii™ may help recovering stroke patients improve their motor function, according to research presented as a late breaking poster at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2010.

The study found the virtual reality gaming system was safe and feasible strategy to improve motor function after stroke.

"This is the first randomized clinical study showing that virtual reality using Wii™ gaming technology is feasible and safe and is potentially effective in enhancing motor function following a stroke, but our study results need to be confirmed in a major clinical trial," said Gustavo Saposnik, M.D., M.Sc., director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at the Li Ka Shing Institute, St. Michael's Hospital and lead investigator of the study carried out at theToronto Rehabilitation Institute at the University of Toronto, Canada.

The pilot study focused on movements with survivors' impaired arms to help both fine (small muscle) and gross (large muscle) motor function.

Twenty survivors (average age 61) of mild to moderate ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes were randomized to playing recreational games (cards or Jenga, a block stacking and balancing game) or Wii™ tennis and Wii™ Cooking Mama, which uses movements that simulate cutting a potato, peeling an onion, slicing meat and shredding cheese.

Both groups received an intensive program of eight sessions, about 60 minutes each over two weeks, initiated about two months following a stroke.

The study found no adverse effects in the Wii™ group, reflecting safety. There was only one reported side effect in the recreational therapy group: nausea or dizziness. The Wii™ group used the technology for about 364 minutes in total session time, reflecting its feasibility. The recreational therapy group's total time was 388 minutes.

"The beauty of virtual reality is that it applies the concept of repetitive tasks, high-intensity tasks and task-specific activities, that activates special neurons (called 'mirror neuron system') involved in mechanisms of cortical reorganization (brain plasticity)," Saposnik said. "Effective rehabilitation calls for applying these principles."

Researchers found significant motor improvement in speed and extent of recovery with the Wii™ technology.

"Basically, we found that patients in the Wii™ group achieved a better motor function, both fine and gross, manifested by improvement in speed and grip strength," Saposnik said. "But it is too early to recommend this approach generally. A larger, randomized study is needed and is underway."

Wii™ is a virtual reality video gaming system using wireless controllers that interact with the user. A motion detection system allows patients their actions on a television screen with nearly real time sensory feedback. 

Exergames improve mood and mental-health quality of life (study)

Exergames for Subsyndromal Depression in Older Adults: A Pilot Study of a Novel Intervention

Rosenberg, Dori M.P.H., M.S.; Depp, Colin A. Ph.D.; Vahia, Ipsit V. M.D.; Reichstadt, Jennifer M.S.; Palmer, Barton W. Ph.D.; Kerr, Jacqueline Ph.D.; Norman, Greg Ph.D.; Jeste, Dilip V. M.D.

Objectives: Subsyndromal depression (SSD) is several times more common than major depression in older adults and is associated with significant negative health outcomes. Physical activity can improve depression, but adherence is often poor. The authors assessed the feasibility, acceptability, and short-term efficacy and safety of a novel intervention using exergames (entertaining video games that combine game play with exercise) for SSD in older adults.

Methods: Community-dwelling older adults (N = 19, aged 63–94 years) with SSD participated in a 12-week pilot study (with follow-up at 20–24 weeks) of Nintendo's Wii sports, with three 35-minute sessions a week.

Results: Eight-six percent of enrolled participants completed the 12-week intervention. There was a significant improvement in depressive symptoms, mental health-related quality of life (QoL), and cognitive performance but not physical health-related QoL. There were no major adverse events, and improvement in depression was maintained at follow-up.

Conclusions: The findings provide preliminary indication of the benefits of exergames in seniors with SSD. Randomized controlled trials of exergames for late-life SSD are warranted.

[Via Journal]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Swinxs = Console-free ExerGaming

Finally after 2 years of waiting we now can play Swinxs in the US.  I blogged about it a couple of years ago and now for $150 dollars you can get up to 10 kids playing 26 games indoors or outdoors without being tied to a TV. Play Swinxs outside or inside using the bracelets and console (RFID ) and attach to any PC to share games and scores online. I had my students using the Hyper Dash product for a while so it would be neat to see how Swinxs compares.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nabii: The Next ExerGaming Controller

By popular demand, people wanted to see more of the Nabii device I featured a couple of days ago.  The company is Microinfinity and they also have a another Air Mouse peripheral that is also a great PPT presentation tool. I love using the game controller for a couple of the games that came with it including the drumming game. 

Keep your eyes open for the images and videos from some of the games. In the meanwhile, here are some screens from the Tennis game that was made by a Taiwanese game company.  The beauty of these games is that they can be played through IPTV.  In fact at the KSF 2009, we were able to play over IPTV with people at another location within the exhibit hall.  To grow exergames and serious games, that has to be a crucial component to have, socialization, networking, online game play, and data tracking.
Thanks to Ed & Tommy of Exergame Fitness for supplying my lab with a set of these.  We will have them featured at our Exergame Workshop: Active Video Gaming = Serious Fun at AAHPERD in Indinapolis later in March.

Featured speakers will include yours truly (Stephen Yang, SUNY Cortland), John Foley, PhD, State University of New York - Cortland, Cortland, NY; Dan Lawler; Lisa Hansen, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; Aaron Hart, Station PE, Cortland, NY; Andrea Oh, ITECH Fitness, Denver, CO; Richard Coshott, Gamercize, UK, Cortland, NY; and Helena Baert, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Featured equipment:
Positive Gaming's iDANCE platform
Activio Group Heart Rate Monitoring
Microinfinity Nabii
and much much more!

Accessibility for everyone needs to be integrated into the planning phase and not as an after-thought...

I took this photo on a street corner in Washington, D.C. and I almost tripped over it while walking with my kids. 

Posted via web from ExerGame Lab's posterous

Friday, February 12, 2010

ExerGames at 2010 Olympic Village

As a former resident of Vancouver, I could not be more excited for the Olympics to start in my adopted hometown.  The ski hills, ocean playground, and multicultural diversity has no rival. At the Olympic Village, exergaming will represented in the way of a Wii game system - presumably loaded with Wii Sports or Sports Resort to appeal to most athletes.

Posted via email from ExerGame Lab's posterous

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

iFit Beware

metatarsal fractureThey say imitation is the highest form of flattery. The iFit from China-based StarQ looks like a mash up of XaviX J-Mat and Active Life Outdoor Challenge.  It looks to be completely operated via the touch-sensitive pad which looks to be at least 2.5 feet wide.  At least if you fall off, it won’t be like falling off a Balance Board and breaking your metatarsal. 80 mini-games for ~ $40 works out to be about $0.50/game. You decide if it’s worth it and enjoy playing the games. Could this be the next gateway exergame? Speaking of getting fit, be sure to check in on Mark Barlet of AbleGamers as he pursues his goals of weight loss and increased fitness levels. Here is his week one posting.
[Via Trendy, Technabob and NEJM|

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