Jewel Mine

Project Leader: Belinda Lange

Jewel Mine was created using the Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK and is part of a series of game-based research prototypes using off-the-shelf video game hardware to explore the potential of interactive games to improve therapy in home and clinical settings.

Video game systems are increasingly being used for rehabilitation. However, games designed for entertainment do not always meet clinical needs. They can be too challenging for people with impairments to complete or they can encourage the wrong type of movements. Negative feedback often discourage patients from trying to complete tasks.

Jewel Mine is a rehabilitation therapy tool customized to overcome these issues. Developed at the Game Based Rehab Lab, part of the MedVR Group at University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), this video game-based application targets balance training and upper limb reaching exercises and is designed to
motivate people with orthopedic and neurological injury or impairments, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and balance issues associated with aging.

A player takes on the role of a miner who must gather jewels from a mine shaft by reaching out from the center of the screen and touching each jewel individually. The environment and associated task can be changed easy during game play. For example, the scene can be switched instantly to a meadow where the user must reach out to gather flowers, or a library where books are the targets. The degree of challenge can be tailored to individuals with different levels of ability and the game tasks can be controlled by the clinician. Also, performance results can be saved and analyzed.

The project was funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) as part of a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center focused on developing technologies for people aging with and into a disability.