ReLoop is a gait(walking)-adaptability training game. In this game you will start by walking in a seemingly dark environment, but with the first step you will see that you are shooting rays with your feet as you put them down on the ground again. This lights up the environment, but by aiming the rays you can also grab nuggets (or evade some of them). If your hit-rate is adequate, the game will automatically level you up, where you will slowly see more of the environment, with different colours and shapes. The world slowly opens up to you as your gait-adaptability increases, creating an ever more pleasantly walking experience.
The patients that train their gait-adaptability with ReLoop have the feeling they are completely immersed in an attractive, dynamic environment while engaging in the meaningful task of gait-adaptation training. The game invites exploring and looking at the ever-changing environment. Just like in real-world walking, the reward is not getting a high-score, but being able to enjoy the surroundings. As the game adapts to the skill-level of the patients, they always have a sense of accomplishment after a training session. The game-play can be accompanied by a specifically designed music for the game and the music-speed aids in finding the appropriate walking rhythm.
The game is used on a daily basis at the rehabilitation centre. Based on the success of the game, MOTEK-Medical decided to down-size the needed hardware for the game, so now it is available for a much larger audience.
Besides the video below you can view more about the game at this link: http://robvanduinen.nl/-projecten/quill/relooppromo.mp4
Walking is a special activity and in medical terms best described as a controlled form of falling. It costs us no effort at all to step over or evade small obstacles that are in our way, speed up, slow down or make small, almost unnoticeable bends so we for example don't bump into each other in a crowd: a remarkable achievement of our bodies and brains, especially when considering the small surface our feet comprise. Gait adaptability is especially important in an ever growing elderly population and for patients after a stroke, amputation and Parkinson's disease, to name a few. Falling risk and the accompanying medical problems are substantially reduced when people have a good gait adaptability. And this therefore helps to promote independent living. Prior to the development of the game a PhD project was initiated and finished. It was a cooperation between the Military Rehabilitation Centre, Motek-Medical and the Free University of Amsterdam (Step by Step: Stepping strategies to prevent falling while walking, PhD-thesis by Laura Hak). The results of the study, especially the factors that determine gait-adaptability (step-length, step-width and stepping frequency) were translated into the design of the game with the aid of the Utrecht School of the Arts. All in all, the game reflects the notion that a sound scientific basis is needed to pin-point the factors that are essential in training a specific task, but also that for the successful transformation of these factors into a compelling serious game a tight cooperation between the gaming, technical and medical professionals is paramount.