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LokoSprint is an endless runner game created to be played on the Lokomat robotic gait trainer for physical therapy. Robotic gait trainers such as the Lokomat are used in place of treadmill gait training for patients with neurological or muscular disorders.
A manual treadmill physical therapy requires the therapist to support the patient causing physical strain on the therapist during sessions. Sometimes more than one therapist will have to work on a patient for proper training. The gait pattern of a normal walking person is incredibly hard to replicate manually. Therefore, all of these factors lead to fewer minutes dedicated to actual training and an inefficient therapy session for the patient.
Robot-assisted therapy on the other hand supports the patient without the therapist's help, the intensity of the work out can be manipulated according to the patient's comfort level and no more than one therapist is required to assist the patient. The adjustable exoskeleton of the robot trainer combined with dynamic body weight support, enables the patient to train walking with a healthy individual's gait pattern.
The Lokomat trainer on its own has many advantages, but we wanted take it a little more further by incorporating a virtual reality game to complement its gait training. Stroke, brain injury and other neurological diseases patients by the majority are wheelchair bound. To be able to stand and walk like a normal person is a feat on its own, but adding VR to it comes with many advantages.
For one, while the patients are training on the Lokomat, they are walking in place and therefore, not moving forward in space since they are essentially on a treadmill. To overcome this, the LokoSprint VR game has been designed to sync with the gait pattern of the Lokomat and move the player forward in the game while they walk. Walking and moving forward in space, is something that an individual with healthy legs takes for granted, but a big deal for someone who is wheelchair bound. It also takes advantage of the neuroplasticity of the brain, to create connections related to walking as a normal person would.
We have observed that patient engagement in the therapy is significantly increased when playing a game during training as opposed to just walking on a treadmill. The goal of the LokoSprint game is to collect as many coins as possible as they walk in the virtual environment. A timer displays the amount of time spent in the game and the number of coins collected. Therapists can set goals for the patient to work towards, such as collect 100 coins in 20 minutes or beat their previous record. Using these techniques we have seen a significant increase in engagement with hip and knee movement in the patient population at the clinic.