What is Exergaming?

A while ago we had a meeting-party with some nurses that are Twitter users (a Tweet party!) organized by the Innovation Technologies group which I’m part of, for the Official Nurse College in Barcelona. It was a great evening, I got to meet many great people that want and see the need to apply new technologies and their potential in hospitals, primary care centers and healthcare in general.

Towards the end, we all had our 5 minutes of glory to share what we were currently working on or our personal interest in ICT. When I mentioned my interest for exergaming platforms I saw many faces that were telling me they had no idea what it was, so I was encouraged to do a little entry on my blog about it.

Exergaming comes from exer- (exercise) and gaming (v. game). One of the most popular exergaming platform is Dance Dance Revolution, also considered the commercial father of the movement (1998). Later due the bad reputation that video games were getting for engaging people sitting down for hours, we were presented by the Wii console with the product Wii Fit (2006), followed by XBOX 360 Kinect and PlayStation Move (2010) in an attempt to change this. With these consoles many games related with health (mostly fitness and nutrition) were available, opening a new market to exercise at home for all ages. Other less common platforms are the interactive playgrounds (Playdale i-Play) and other experimental platforms such as Shadowboxing or the Interactive Slide. Many of these installations use a projector to show images or a video-game and a camera such as Kinect to track the users moves in order to make the game interactive.


Since the Wii console came out there have been many engineers that experimented new ways to use its hardware. Consoles started to get a lot of attention from healthcare with Wii Fit, Kinect and PSEye, both for the people who saw the possibility of its use on healthcare as well as people who were more concern about the risks. There have been several works that came out regarding the possibilities these consoles hardware offer in rehabilitation for Ictus, accidents, paralysis or balance and mobility issues. Many universities have jumped onto the initiatives for Ictus rehabilitation using augmented reality through these cheap detection devices like PSEye. There are even schools that used these technologies like Dance Dance Revolution to help during P.I. class.


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