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A boy playing a game on a table with beamer showing the game on the table

Marc (8) is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP). This type of brain damage causes a lot of trouble with the control of his limbs. To train the movement of his arms, he has therapy at the rehabilitation centre Roessingh in Enschede, The Netherlands. For six months they’ve used the practice version of HandsOn as an extra support during treatment. HandsOn is a game which is played using a projection on a table.

Recovering with fun
Marc cheers quietly. He is occupied with all blocks in different colors and sizes. By placing them on different spots on the table, he’s trying to protect his ship against animal attackers. When an animal is blocked, you’ll see a big smile on his face. The game increases motivation to carry out the rehabilitation exercises.

An innovative project
Jolienke Colenbrander (32) is one of the therapists involved in the project. She’s very enthusiastic about HandsOn: “An innovative project in the pediatric centre,” she explains. “Children learn best through a playful way, they don’t even realize that they’re actually practicing. ” “HandsOn has great potential and opportunities” Jolienke continues. “The game is easy to adjust at any niveau. This way we can see what difficulty or speed suits best, and has the most impact on every child. By using various objects, different hand grips are provoked. A great advantage compared to existing rehabilitation games!”

An indispensable part of rehabilitation.
For HandsOn to become an indispensable part of rehabilitation, there must be improved a lot. “The game crashes once in a while and only has one game theme. We are working to improve and adjust these things” says Jolienke. For Marc, HandsOn is already a success. In fact, he doesn’t even want to answer all the questions, but much rather continue playing!

The beginning of HandsOn
Children recover way better if the exercises are offered in a game. In recent years, rehabilitation centers increasingly use position and motion sensitive gaming consoles like the Wii or Xbox. The games on these consoles do have one big disadvantage: they are made for people without disabilities. It’s impossible to set up the game’s settings regarding the physical capabilities and limitations of patients, ensuring these games fail to be a valuable part of the rehabilitation.

Because of the potential of computer games in rehabilitation Roessingh Research and Development (RRD) collaborated in 2013 with HKU (University of the Arts Utrecht). Because of this co-operation HandsOn came into existence. An important advantage of HandsOn is the possibility to alter the virtual training surrounding to the individual level of the patient. To improve this wonderful project, RRD called in the assistance from the Revalidatiefonds. Together they’re well on their way to turn HandsOn into a succes!

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