The purpose of this study was to explore the subjective experience of older adults interacting with both virtual and real environments. Thirty healthy older adults engaged with real and virtual tasks of similar motor demands: reaching to a target in standing and stepping stance. Immersive tendencies and absorption scales were administered before the session. Game engagement and experience questionnaires were completed after each task, followed by a semistructured interview at the end of the testing session. Data were analyzed respectively using paired t tests and grounded theory methodology. Participants preferred the virtual task over the real task. They also reported an increase in presence and absorption with the virtual task, describing an external focus of attention. Findings will be used to inform future development of appropriate game-based balance training applications that could be embedded in the home or community settings as part of evidence-based fall prevention programs.
Rachel Proffitt, Belinda Lange, Christina Chen and Carolee Winstein
Beatriz Caruso Soares, Jéssica Maria Ribeiro Bacha, Daniel Donadio Mello, Emerson Galves Moretto, Tatiana Fonseca, Karina Santos Vieira, Amanda Franchi de Lima, Belinda Lange, Camila Torriani-Pasin, Roseli de Deus Lopes and José Eduardo Pompeu
Objective: To analyze the feasibility, safety, and acceptability of immersive virtual tasks. Methods: The authors recruited 11 young adults and 10 older adults. The participants performed three virtual reaching tasks while walking on a virtual path. The descriptive analysis and comparison between participants were performed using the Mann–Whitney U test and chi-square test for nonparametric and nominal variables, respectively. The authors also used analysis of variance for a between-groups comparison for normal variables. Results: Twenty percent of older adults and 81.8% of young adults completed all three tasks (chi-square test; p = .005). Both groups reported minor symptoms, with no significant differences. The older adults were more motivated to practice the tasks (Mann–Whitney U test; p = .015) and would be more likely to suggest them to others (chi-square test; p = .034). Conclusion: All three tasks were feasible for young adults. All participants, except for one, had cybersickness. The symptoms were mostly mild and subsided once the interaction was complete.