The iPLAY is an exergaming (exercise + video gaming) system that incorporates purposeful play and physical activity enjoyment in children’s play. As children’s cognitive abilities are often tied to the timing of their motor milestones, motor skills development is fundamental for their cognitive development. However, current conventional physical activities set-ups can be time consuming and manpower-intensive. With the increasing incidence rates of developmental delays cases and the growing popularization of technological tools, iPLAY aims to complement current manual motor assessments and conventional play therapies.
Built on an exergaming platform, iPLAY sustains the motor learning interest of children who are mostly visual and kinesthetic learners. Aligning with the notion of holistic child development, iPLAY serves as a “one-stop” system to track motor milestones and provide play intervention for children in developing gross motor skills. The digital information collected from iPLAY can be interpreted to monitor gross motor proficiencies and be improved with customized iPLAY programmes. As such, iPLAY system is suitable for healthcare organizations and preschool centers as a contemporary exergaming intervention with automated data tracking and interpretation which is currently not available in the market.
Technology features of iPLAY include an interactive space for play by using an integrated computer unit and automated motion tracking. Additionally, it has interactive visual and audio features to cater for the multi-sensory needs required for children with and without developmental delays. The iPLAY system also allows the real execution of motor movements in a virtually simulated environment that is purposeful, educational, non-stressful, animated and fun. The iPLAY task protocols (i.e. stability, locomotion and object manipulation) are non-stressful and non-invasive while the algorithm is based on the normative data of children aged 3 to 6 years old in Singapore.
iPLAY includes the use of depth motion sensors (i.e. Kinect) and gaming development platforms (i.e. Unity) to synchronize with an integrated computer unit with multiple available interfaces (Windows, Apple or Android). Pre-defined images will be projected on surfaces (i.e. floor and wall). The upper and lower limb movements will be detected by the depth sensors while the computer assesses the relative temporal and spatial activities of the limbs. The pre-defined images driven by the different carefully considered iPLAY task protocols will be incorporated into the gaming storyboards. These protocols are based on various existing motor assessment tests validated in other countries.
The advantages of iPLAY include a non-invasive and multi-sensory environment which monitors gross motor milestones as well as improves the gross motor skills of children with and without developmental needs. iPLAY identifies specific areas of improvements based on a child’s motor proficiencies and adopts various gaming storyboards to customize a suitable exergaming intervention for the child. Not only could the iPLAY system maximize current spaces with multiple interactive wall or floor projections within an indoor environment, it is also less time consuming and manpower intensive with auto digitalized tracking capability.
The iPLAY system aims to track motor milestones and monitor motor interventions to integrate into the physical play curriculum of children aged 3 to 6 years, with and without developmental delays. Specifically, iPLAY with its series of task protocols and exergaming intervention automates the interpretation process for professional administrators, healthcare therapists and special needs educators to track motor milestones conveniently and suggest interventions for children with developmental delays. Therefore, customized intervention to address the delayed motor proficiencies of children with developmental delays could be implemented at preschools, special schools and healthcare settings.
With the iPLAY system, users will get to improve their gross motor proficiencies and enhance their physical activities experiences. Stakeholders in the healthcare and school settings would be able to track and monitor gross motor milestones of children through automated digitized data interpretation, printable reports and downloadable spreadsheets.