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Title: A framework and serious game to support those with mild cognitive impairment 
Authors: Lau, Sum Yuet Joyce
Advisors: Agius, H
Victor, C
Keywords: Serious games;Gamification;Gamefulness and playfulness;Mild Cognitive Impairment;Dementia
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Cognitive decline is common in the elderly. As a result, a range of cognitive rehabilitation games have been proposed to supplement or replace traditional rehabilitative training by offering benefits such as improved engagement. This research project focuses on mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an initial stage of cognitive decline that does not affect functioning in daily life, but which may progress towards more serious cognitive deteriorations, notably dementia. Unfortunately, while a variety of serious game frameworks and rehabilitative serious games have been proposed, there is a distinct lack of those which support the distinctive characteristics of MCI patients. Consequently, to optimise the advantages of serious games for MCI, the research proposes the MCI-GaTE (MCI-Game Therapy Experience) framework that may be used to develop serious games as effective cognitive and physical rehabilitation tools. The framework is derived from a combination of a survey of related research literature in the area, analysis of resident profiles from a nursing home, and in-depth interviews with occupational therapists (OTs) who work with MCI patients on a daily basis to help them overcome the disabling effects so that they can carry out everyday tasks. The conceptual framework comprises four sectors that may be used to guide game design and development: an MCI player profile that represents the capabilities of a player with MCI, core gaming elements that support gameful and playful activities, therapeutic elements that support cognitive and physical rehabilitation through tasks and scenarios according to the player’s abilities, and motivational elements to enhance the player’s attitude towards the serious tasks. Together, they provide tailored support for rehabilitation needs and may also serve as a set of comprehensive and established criteria by which an MCI serious game may be evaluated. To demonstrate the use of MCI-GaTE, an immersive and gesture-based serious game, A go!, is designed that exploits the framework to enable MCI-diagnosed players to undertake a series of tailored therapeutic tasks supported by an assigned OT. To this end, a goal-directed design approach is employed, whereby personas, scenarios and journey maps are developed that satisfy the goals of both the MCI player and their OT, and enable the derivation of functional requirements leading to a visual design. A-go! is realised as a responsive and interactive high-fidelity prototype that supports gesture recognition and 3D game objects from a first-person perspective to facilitate immersion without the need for additional worn devices, such as headsets, which would prove impractical for the targeted elderly players. Evaluation with OTs revealed that the immersive game potentially offers more effective and tailored support to MCI patients than traditional methods, contributing new possibilities for enhancing MCI rehabilitative training, while a comparative assessment of MCI-GaTE demonstrated that it provides a comprehensive approach not currently offered by state-of-the-art rehabilitative frameworks.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Dept of Electronic and Electrical Engineering Theses

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