Limbs Alive is a ground-breaking computer game project devised by Professor Janet Eyre. The game was developed by Pitbull Games with funding from Health Innovation and Challenge Fund and support from The Children’s Foundation. It has been designed as a way of making rehabiltation for stroke and other hemiparesis patients interactive, more fun and less clinical.
The game allows users to control an avatar performing increasingly complex sequences of movement, based on the theme of 'cirucs skills', using Sixense controllers in both hands.
My initial role in the production of this game was to provide motion data with which to animate the different characters within the game. I achieved this via a series of capture sessions with real performers, including trapeze artists, a juggler, a knife-thrower, a clown and a ringmaster.
During this process, I was responsible for organising and conducting the motion capture sessions in liaison with the circus performers, project managers and game developers.
Over a series of five sessions, more than four hours of usable movement data was captured, including acrobatic aerial manoeuvres, complex sequences of full body movements and interactions with objects such as juggling clubs, spinning plates, ringmaster whips and pois. Afterwards, I provided detailed annotations alongside the movement data, based on interviews with the performance artists.
Each of these sessions presented technical challenges - this video, taken during one of the capture sessions for the trapeze artist, demonstrates the range of movements captured - each one corresponding to a movement users can control within the game:
Following the positive experience working on the game development, I was offered a subsequent role within the project; to provide validation data for the game, which will proove that the game is acheiving its goal - to assist in the rehabilitation process of patients with hemiparesis.
Over a hundred stroke patients will play the game whilst simultaneously being captured using the Vicon system. The data from these sessions will provide evidence that the movements used whilst playing the game provide the same range of exercises - and the same level of rehabilitation - as a clinical session with an occupational therapist.
This stage of the project is expected to be completed in 2014.