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Design and Evaluation of a Digital Exergame-Based Solution for Effective and Attractive Sports Rehabilitation

Project state


Project start

November 2021

Funding duration

24 months

Universities involved


Practice partners

Sphery AG

Funding amount DIZH

CHF 202'000

After a knee injury, only 65% of athletes return to the same level of performance as before the injury. The rehabilitation phase is lengthy and only prepares athletes to a limited extent for the demands of sport. A user-centred approach to the development of therapeutic interventions makes it possible to take into account the needs of those affected as well as scientific evidence. Exergaming, i.e. physically active gaming, offers an opportunity for motivating and functional training. The aim of this project was to develop a specific exergame for sports rehabilitation after knee injuries.

Firstly, a biomechanical analysis of playing an existing exergame scenario in the “ExerCube” was carried out. In addition, the needs of primary and secondary end users were determined in focus groups. Based on these results, a specific functional movement concept and a new game scenario were developed in an iterative and interdisciplinary design process and integrated into a new exergame for the ExerCube.

The focus groups revealed that patients want to return to sport as quickly as possible, but have concerns about the many stimuli during training. Physiotherapists want a device that enables additional independent training with new therapeutic stimuli. Accordingly, the movement concept for the new Exergame includes strength and balance exercises as well as a mini-game for endurance, reaction and dexterity training. Three difficulty levels allow the complexity and speed to be varied, and biomechanical risk factors are only introduced as the difficulty increases.

The interdisciplinary and evidence-based approach made it possible to systematically develop the requirements for a rehabilitation exergame and ensured user-centred implementation. A final evaluation examined the game experience, potential effects and the applicability of the new exergame in sports rehabilitation and was able to confirm these. The newly developed exergame scenario is now being used at all ExerCube locations.


Dr. Eveline Graf, ZHAW Departement Gesundheit, Institut für Physiotherapie

Anna-Lisa Martin Niedecken, ZHdK Department Design, Institut für Designforschung

Practice partners

Sphery AG

Win Sport Academy

Medbase Win4 Sports Medical Center

Call type: 1. Project Call