Video games that help people recover from injuries
Felipe Quezada has created Kinemotion, a company that develops video games to make injury rehabilitation therapies more enjoyable and fun
Anyone who has gone through rehabilitation after an injury knows that the sessions are boring, the exercises are tediously repetitive and progress is slow and exasperating. Recovery becomes a burden, an obligation to go back to being well again, but something that most people do not want to have to go through. How could these sessions be converted into something more entertaining that motivates patients while they exercise the damaged area?
That is the question that the Chilean Felipe Quezada kept asking himself whilst undergoing rehabilitation. A motorcycle accident forced him to spend over six months performing the same exercises, day after day, to fully recover his elbow mobility. With a career as a video game developer and digital designer, trained by the University of the Americas in Chile, he decided to apply his knowledge to trying to make the sessions more enjoyable and helping patients to be more interested in their therapy.
For quite some time, Quezada knew he wanted to launch an entrepreneurial project. Kinemotion came about from a combination of this desire and his certainty that video games could serve to help rehabilitation. With his video games, patients do their normal therapy exercises whilst going from one screen to another and winning prizes.
For the moment they have launched 8 different video games that help in therapies both for patients with Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis, and people who have suffered strokes or other musculoskeletal problems. These games have several versions so that therapy programmes can be followed in hospitals, schools or even remotely from the patient's home.
In one of the video games, the patient takes on the role of a child who has to reach an island. To do this they have to jump from one stone to another, and each of these jumps requires a knee movement that serves to exercise that area. Another game consists of a plane that has to go through several rings in the air; this is a perfect exercise to work on a patient’s balance. As a patient progresses in the game, they create statistics that the doctor can consult to review their progress.
The project is currently being trialled in two health centres in Chile, and Quezada hopes to be able to launch it in other centres soon. This young Chilean, who has been recognized as one of the Innovators under 35 Latin America 2018 from MIT Technology Review in Spanish, is clear about its usefulness: “The benefit for patients is that they are having fun at the same time as healing".