Development of exergames for the motor training in cerebellar ataxia

Development of exergames for the motor training in cerebellar ataxia

Research Area:

Clinical Movement Control and real-life Behavior Analysis for Assistive Systems


Winfried Ilg; Martin A. Giese;


Prof. Lensch (Uni-TU)


Background: In spite of the classical view that cerebellar patients do not profit from motor training since the cerebellum is involved in motor learning, recent studies show substantial motor improvements after physiotherapeutic training (Ilg et al. 2007) and training with exergames (video games for exercising). Commercial games typically cannot be modified in order to optimize training paradigms and to adjust complexity levels during training to the capabilities of patients. We thus develop own exergames

For the training of whole-body coordination in ataxia patients, where these parameters can be optimally controlled. The figures show an example game: Choice-stepping reaction-time task. The player controls an avatar which has to step as fast as possible on consecutively highlighted target squares, which appear randomly around him.  Game complexity is parameterized mainly by the number and order of targets. At higher performance levels patients perform specified target sequences, or they control a Tetris-like game hitting targets. Exercise emphasizes the improvement specific ataxia-related deficits, such as dynamic stability and trunk-leg coordination. In addition, such games allow a dynamically and adapted control of task complexity, so that intesive training over longer periods can be realized with optimized difficulty levels for the patients. Movements of the patients are recorded by motion capture and analysed quantitatively, characterizing predictive control, dynamic stability / balance, and multi-joint coordination.



Schatton, C., Synofzik, M. & Ilg, W. (2013). Kinder und Jugendliche mit degenerativer Ataxie profitieren vom videospiel-basierten Koordinationstraining. Neuroreha, 5(2), 87–92. [More] 
Ilg, W., Schatton, C., Giese, M. A., Schöls, L. & Synofzik, M. (2012). Video game-based coordinative training improves ataxia in children with degenerative ataxia. Neurology, 79(20), 2056-60. [More]