Using Xbox kinect motion capture technology to improve clinical rehabilitation outcomes for balance and cardiovascular health in an individual with chronic TBI

Shane Chanpimol, Bryant Seamon, Haniel Hernandez, Michael Harris-Love, Marc R. Blackman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Motion capture virtual reality-based rehabilitation has become more common. However, therapists face challenges to the implementation of virtual reality (VR) in clinical settings. Use of motion capture technology such as the Xbox Kinect may provide a useful rehabilitation tool for the treatment of postural instability and cardiovascular deconditioning in individuals with chronic severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a Kinect-based VR intervention using commercially available motion capture games on balance outcomes for an individual with chronic TBI. The secondary purpose was to assess the feasibility of this intervention for eliciting cardiovascular adaptations. Methods: A single system experimental design (n = 1) was utilized, which included baseline, intervention, and retention phases. Repeated measures were used to evaluate the effects of an 8-week supervised exercise intervention using two Xbox One Kinect games. Balance was characterized using the dynamic gait index (DGI), functional reach test (FRT), and Limits of Stability (LOS) test on the NeuroCom Balance Master. The LOS assesses end-point excursion (EPE), maximal excursion (MXE), and directional control (DCL) during weight-shifting tasks. Cardiovascular and activity measures were characterized by heart rate at the end of exercise (HRe), total gameplay time (TAT), and time spent in a therapeutic heart rate (TTR) during the Kinect intervention. Chi-square and ANOVA testing were used to analyze the data. Results: Dynamic balance, characterized by the DGI, increased during the intervention phase χ2 (1, N = 12) = 12, p =.001. Static balance, characterized by the FRT showed no significant changes. The EPE increased during the intervention phase in the backward direction χ2 (1, N = 12) = 5.6, p =.02, and notable improvements of DCL were demonstrated in all directions. HRe (F (2,174) = 29.65, p = <.001) and time in a TTR (F (2, 12) = 4.19, p =.04) decreased over the course of the intervention phase. Conclusions: Use of a supervised Kinect-based program that incorporated commercial games improved dynamic balance for an individual post severe TBI. Additionally, moderate cardiovascular activity was achieved through motion capture gaming. Further studies appear warranted to determine the potential therapeutic utility of commercial VR games in this patient population. Trial registration: ID - NCT02889289.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalArchives of Physiotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Intervention
  • Physical therapy
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Virtual reality
  • Xbox kinect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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