Physical therapy isn't fun. It's a physical and emotional challenge that often consists of dull, repetitive tasks. It's boring, and offers patients almost no short-term rewards for their very real efforts -- but maybe it doesn't have to be that way. A new software platform called Visual Touch Therapy is trying to make physical rehabilitation fun, gamifying repetitive exercises by marrying a Leap Motion controller, a PC and a simple meme-inspired video game. The game itself is fairly simple: players perform simple motions over the Leap controller that cause a dog character to run (or fly a jetpack) across the screen, and their performance and improvement can be tracked, quantified and even sent to their physical therapist for review.
"I want to be the Candy Crush of physical therapy," explains Eric Medine, the game's creator. He also wants the game platform to be affordable, and says that the monthly $25 per-patient fee he's targeting (which includes the motion controller) is far cheaper than the cost of traditional therapy equipment. Right now, the company's games are focused on helping stroke victims, but Medine hopes to build games to help patients with arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome and even multiple sclerosis in the future.