Keeping up with video game technology: Objective analysis of Xbox Kinect™ and PlayStation 3 Move™ for use in burn rehabilitation

Ingrid Parry, Clarissa Carbullido, Jason Kawada, Anita Bagley, Soman Sen, David G Greenhalgh, Tina L Palmieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Commercially available interactive video games are commonly used in rehabilitation to aide in physical recovery from a variety of conditions and injuries, including burns. Most video games were not originally designed for rehabilitation purposes and although some games have shown therapeutic potential in burn rehabilitation, the physical demands of more recently released video games, such as Microsoft Xbox Kinect™ (Kinect) and Sony PlayStation 3 Move™ (PS Move), have not been objectively evaluated. Video game technology is constantly evolving and demonstrating different immersive qualities and interactive demands that may or may not have therapeutic potential for patients recovering from burns. This study analyzed the upper extremity motion demands of Kinect and PS Move using three-dimensional motion analysis to determine their applicability in burn rehabilitation. Thirty normal children played each video game while real-time movement of their upper extremities was measured to determine maximal excursion and amount of elevation time. Maximal shoulder flexion, shoulder abduction and elbow flexion range of motion were significantly greater while playing Kinect than the PS Move (p ≤ 0.01). Elevation time of the arms above 120° was also significantly longer with Kinect (p < 0.05). The physical demands for shoulder and elbow range of motion while playing the Kinect, and to a lesser extent PS Move, are comparable to functional motion needed for daily tasks such as eating with a utensil and hair combing. Therefore, these more recently released commercially available video games show therapeutic potential in burn rehabilitation. Objectively quantifying the physical demands of video games commonly used in rehabilitation aides clinicians in the integration of them into practice and lays the framework for further research on their efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-859
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • Burn
  • Microsoft Kinect
  • Motion analysis
  • PlayStation 3 Move
  • Rehabilitation
  • Video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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