Personalized Balance Games Gable (GAmification for a Better LifE) platform Gable is a collaborative EU Horizon 2020 project, consisting of a consortium of organisations across five European countries. The project delivered a game distribution platform via our web portal which provided user, therapist and developer management and a desktop application that handles providing the end-users the digital content. Game Developers can use the portal to publish their digital content to our system, Therapists can use the portal manage new and existing patients, Users can use the portal to provide reviews for the products available and socialise in a controlled and monitored chat environment.
GABLE has created the first online video games service for youths with Cerebral Palsy (CP), which is the hosting platform of games (exergames and non-exergames) focused on improving motor skills and visual-motor coordination for youths with CP. These games leverage the latest advances in computer vision and image processing techniques, in order to improve accessibility. The platform has been constructed with social networking in mind, which allows parents, care givers and patients to socialise in a common environment, to share experiences and advice, to provide the best care for Cerebral Palsy patients. Caregivers can share best practices and lessons learned among themselves, which will help them provide a better service across Europe and beyond.
GABLE was born out of the idea that there is little or no help for youths with CP to play games specifically suited for their disability, while motivating them to play more and helping to rehabilitate their motor and motor-visual skills, and at the same time, introducing them to multiplayer/online gaming that would improve their social skills, and by extension, their social inclusion among their peers. Looking at the research done into these problems, we have seen that only baby steps have been made in an attempt to solve them. Several isolated demonstrations, in a research environment, have shown that there is great potential in exergames to be used as rehabilitation tools, while others have shown that multiplayer can bring about social interaction leading to an improvement of social skills for disabled patients.
Play is probably the main activity for any child. Through play, children start exploring their world, and put the basis of their own system of values, which will be the cornerstone of their adult life. Play in children with CP becomes difficult due to the disability, and this in turn can affect child’s self-esteem. In addition, the sensory and motor problems experienced by children with CP affect how they interact with their surroundings, including the environment and other people.
In this context, video games, and in particular exergames, represent a very promising way to enable youths with CP to perform the exercise they need to break the cycle of deconditioning, while allowing them to socialize with others in fun ways from the comfort of their homes. Exergames are a combination of exercise (or exertion) and video games. Reviews of exergames indicate that they have positive effects both on motivation for active participation in rehabilitation and on impaired functions.