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Dr. Roger Crawfis Presents Uniquely Beneficial Game Recovery Rapids

As a professor, researcher, and game designer, Dr. Roger Crawfis has made countless contributions to the advancement of the CSE department. Dr. Crawfis teaches a Procedural Content Generation for Games Course, a Senior Capstone Project class, and a Junior Project Interactive Systems Class. His areas of research include Scientific Visualization, Computer Graphics, Procedural Content Generation, and Image-based Rendering. He also led the creation of the game "Recovery Rapids" alongside a team of students, rehab researchers, and brain injury survivors.

The game "Recovery Rapids" serves to assist survivors who have suffered from brain trauma, stroke, or other injuries in which the Motor Cortex of the brain is impaired. Damage to the Motor Cortex can result in difficulty moving certain parts of the body. These patients require constraint-induced movement therapy to regain voluntary movement of the specified sites. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not typically cover the CI therapy for more than a certain number of hours while patients need the therapy every day to heal properly. First notified of this issue by a rehab neuroscience specialist, Dr. Crawfis and his team approached the obstacle of building an affordable imitation of CI therapy through the game "Recovery Rapids".

Through two years of development, Recovery Rapids was built to rehabilitate patients with sufficient Motor Cortex damage. Dr. Crawfis and his team mapped game mechanics to functional movement in order to recreate the gold standard CI therapy techniques. The game challenges the user's brain in moving the disabled sites which are usually located on the upper half of the body, specifically the arm and shoulders. These activities are targeted at "retraining the brain" contrary to physical therapy that specifically focuses on muscle toning.

In addition to providing CI therapy, Recovery Rapids was designed to be a fun gaming experience. The game uses Microsoft Kinect and models real-life activities such as rowing a kayak and picking up objects. It includes 30 hours of unique Gameplay, so each day is not monotonous for the user. The game was also designed with suggestions from patients, so it centers largely on user preferences.

The game was built through Microsoft XNA using C# and runs on a standard Windows platform. In order to provide university students with a chance to learn about software principles in gaming, Dr. Crawfis assisted in developing the Junior Project Class, CSE 3902. Students in the course use Microsoft XNA and C# in order to recreate a 2D platform game. Dr. Crawfis has demonstrated that the application of interactive systems and design patterns can have a worthwhile impact.

Visit Games that Move You to learn more about Recovery Rapids and other projects created by Dr. Crawfis and his team.

Tags: Outreach