Assisting Post-Stroke Patient Rehabilitation with Interactive Games

(2016 - 2017) - Contributing Developer

Unity, Kinect Tracking, Physics, C#, Multi-disciplinary team


One of many projects under MARS3: Machines Assisting Recovery from Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury for Reintegration into Society funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) program.

This project was a collaboration between the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formally the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) explored the use of virtual reality techniques to develop new therapy techniques for upper arm exercise for post-stroke patients.

Using the prototype developed by Prof. Daria Tsoupikova (EVL, UIC) and PhD student Saumya Solanki, I refined the three physics-based games: Ball, Air Painting, and Food Fight. All three of these games used body tracking of a Kinect v1 sensor to track and record the upper body movements of the patient. These games were networked allowing patient to patient or therapist to patient session across the internet. A single player mode was also available. I worked to improve both the physics interaction, networking, and the data logging system used by the therapists to track patient progress.

This system was initially used by patients at the hospital and later deployed in patient’s homes.

Contribution Summary

  • Supervised the refinement of the physics-based throwing mechanics, networking, and data collection and logging.


  • Thielbar, K.O., Triandafilou, K.M., Barry, A.J., Yuan, N., Nishimoto, A., Johnson, J., Stoykov, M.E., Tsoupikova, D. and Kamper, D.G., 2020. Home-based upper extremity stroke therapy using a multiuser virtual reality environment: a randomized trial. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 101(2), pp.196-203. DOI: