Left 4 Arm
Physical therapy is an essential process for people who need to build or rebuild strengthm, mobility, and motor skills. There are positive impacts on children in particular, and treatment options for them expand to addressing physical symptoms associated with autism, ADHD, and childhood development in general. As anyone who has required physical therapy knows, attending weekly treatments to roll a ball a few different ways is not the most engaging use of your time, and it's easy to sympathize with children who quickly become bored. Virtual reality is a new and expansive domain that we wanted to gain some experience and develop some skills in, and we thought creating an immersive zombie-fighting game for kids would be a great way to do so. The Myo armbands used track certain muscle groups to perform properly, so we thought there were potential clinical applications for the game. The armbands could also improve fine motor skills, as they recognize various hand movements. We were originally inspired by the potential of developing a virtual reality application using Mozilla A-Frame and the number of cool projects that others have created using it.
What it does
Left 4 Arm lets you enter an arena where you can fight zombies. The Myo armband provides real-time, accurate motion tracking of your arms and fists, allowing for a greater level of immersion than is provided by the Oculus Rift alone. Physicians would be able to control the placement of the target for the purpose of targeting specific muscle groups and repetitive movements, and thus the movement necessary to fight the zombies would double as muscle group therapy. The Myo armbands also give an output of muscle activity. This could be used to track a patient's muscle development progress and could quickly address when incorrect muscle groups are being exercised. We thought this would be a great way to make kids more engaged in their treatment, and their enthusiasm in combination with the direct output of the game would likely have a positive impact on their progress.
How we built it
The project was built using Unity and C# for the game modeling. Some Python and Node.js was used in analyzing Myo armband data and creating a web server.
Challenges we ran into
Originally, we were planning on creating a WebVR application using the Mozilla A-Frame framework. A-Frame is a wrapper for the three.js library which exposes a declarative API for its Entity-Component-System architecture. We were inspired by the potential of A-Frame and WebVR, but ran into serious problems when trying to interface them with the Oculus Rift. The Rift would detect that a WebVR application was running, but none of the images would appear on the headset. After a night-long debugging session, we were forced to abandon that idea and decided to use Unity instead.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud of how much we learned, given that virtual reality was a new domain for all of us. We believe that we made a lot of progress given the time we had and difficulties we experienced.
What we learned
We're proud of how much we learned, given that virtual reality was a new domain for all of us. We believe that we made a lot of progress given the time we had and difficulties we experienced. We're also proud of manipulating the Myo bands to work on other parts of the arm and thus being able to realistically model a real arm.
What's next for Left 4 Arm
We hope to port Left 4 Arm to a WebVR application in the future once we overcome the problems we experienced with the Oculus Rift. We also hope to consult Physical Therapists to address the most commonly targeted muscle groups necessary, and also add more fine motor skill aspects. We also hope to add more features, polish the game up more, and make it more appealing and accessible for kids. We would also like to develop other versions of the game designed for different demographics and different areas of the body. Here is a different gameplay option that would be great for younger audiences