CIRAC


CIRAC


 

 

This project provides a way to generate processes of motor and neurological rehabilitation with a high interactive content. This interactivity is proposed through videogame dynamics using low-cost gesture and brain computer interfaces, which allow to produce multiple health and social benefits related with the partial pain inhibition, the neuroplasticity stimulation and the motivational component created to improve the treatment adherence. The specialist can carry out an analysis of motion capture data and electroencephalography signals monitored during the intervention with specialized videogames. The Interactive Rehabilitation Center Assisted by Computer (CIRAC) was created to apply new methodologies of ICT based solutions with a high component of interactivity in rehabilitation centers of Colombia in where, both motor and neurological impairments can be treated. The CIRAC includes a set of serious videogames for health, specialized software tools developed for biomechanical analysis of movements, a brain computer interface for analyzing cognitive aspects of patients and a multimedia assembly.

Through the creation of the CIRAC and with transversal work of the spin-off HCI Group, a set of videogames have been designed, developed, assessed and published. This videogames have been specifically assessed inside of local rehabilitation center in the city of Pereira in a special room designed to complement the conventional rehabilitation processes through the use of processes assisted by serious videogames. The processes of creation and assessment of the videogames are carefully documented and published in scientific journals and international conferences in the topics of Videogames for Health and Assistive Technologies. Also, some videogames are used outside to the context of the clinic in places such as schools and local community centers in where specialized medical rotations are carried out.

Particularly, the role that I play in the team is leading the design, development, implementation and documentation processes of the specialized videogames. I carry out structural design of the serious videogame through operant conditioning dynamics applied to videogame theories, considering of course, the requirements of the expert physicians. In the videogames development process I support the design team through the creation of proposals related with the design interaction based on the action mechanisms of each interactive system. In the implementation stage, I develop the physiological signal processing acquired to provide an objective medical assessment related with the evolution of the patients using therapies assisted by videogames. Finally, as a researcher, I organize the scientific papers in order to publish them on international conferences and national journals.

The low motivation that often brings an individual to a rehabilitation processes after surgery, injury or trauma, is associated with the fact of not being able to move normally, succeeding with effort or significant energy expenditure, provoking a high level of stress in the therapies and lack of motivation and boredom by repetitiveness. This issue has been studied before by different researchers which normally create new computational methods for the study and evaluation of human movement and cognitive processes for therapeutic purposes, taking advantages such as sensors, cameras, electronic devices, brain computer interfaces and a large variety of interactive platforms that promote the establishment of videogames and dynamic activities as audiovisual mechanism to improve patient-therapy relationship. However, various limitations that are widespread in most of these platforms:

• The repetitive use of sensors and connections for the motion capture data recording and for the registration of neurophysiological signals such as EEG.

• The repetitiveness and lack of interaction processes in the usual physical and neurological rehabilitation. • The lack of natural interactions proposed in developed interfaces

• The deficiency of methods for data collection in real time and processing methods that facilitates the process of remote monitoring by specialist.

• The restricted portability of equipment that does not allow mass access of patients to the therapies.

• The high costs of the platforms due to the amount of devices needed.

Despite the many innovations developed around the topic of rehabilitation assisted by ICT tools, the implementation of highly interactive systems and therapeutically functional often leading high economic investments and a set of instrumental impediments that not allow that this kind of innovations can be used in countries like Colombia. The CIRAC is a tool for physical rehabilitation, objective assessment of kinematic skills, the clinical valuation of cognitive aspects and the interaction of patients with multiple impairments inside of virtual environments created using digital animation and videogame dynamics. Similar proposals have been developed in recent years in countries like the Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland where the development of new interactive systems assisted by videogames are implemented inside of the rehabilitation centers. Still, these systems have a huge investment to product of research project and then, the cost of the final product is beyond the reach of most rehabilitation centers in the country, The CIRAC is a place not only useful for patients but also for the scientific community around the field of human computer interaction providing a clear vehicle to develop applied research on the region.

Improving the quality of rehabilitation services provided in the CIRAC generates a parallel effect on improving the quality of life of patients treated. The generation of new digital contents and scientific research around the validation of each videogame, allows the generation of new jobs and new business units around the clinic and the spin-off.

SIR


BKI: Brain-Kinect Interface


  The Interactive Room for Rehab is a digital space designed to give patients with motor and/or cognitive impairments, an immersive virtual experience through video games brain computer interfaces and motion capture. The proposed hybrid scheme is as follows:
Figure 1: Scheme of the proposed hybrid BCI: BKI, Brain-Kinect interface.

The SIR is focused on research, development of therapies based on video games that promote movement with high compensation of fun, but at the same time, with a significant added value: the objective measurement of results. In this room we find two types of disruptive technologies: brain computer interfaces and gesture recognition technology using two very low-cost devices such as the Emotiv EPOC and the Kinect sensor, respectively. The hybrid BCI system allows patients to make their rehabilitation therapy through dynamic video games while the specialist acquires accurate data of motion and electroencephalography signals.
Tools for analyzing the motion capture data (left and center) and EEG signals (right)

Have been developed a set of games that use digital animation techniques and motion capture to allow the specialist to choose the specific activity as the body part to rehabilitate or as aspect that is required on routine. In general there are video games to improve balance, dissociation, lateral movement, jumps, moves upper and lower limbs and hips. A total of about 10 independent games distributed activities developed under free platforms like Unity3D and Ogre3D. Once the user completes the interactive session, the registration of their movements and EEG signal is stored in the form of log book, which enables detailed analysis of the evolution of patients over time. Installation is completely wireless and can become a portable tool. It works continuously motivating generation and modern environments in the videogames.