GABARELLO – Game based rehabilitation for Lokomat®


GABARELLO v 1.0 is a fully designed, playable prototype of a physiotherapeutic serious game for children with lower body motor loss.
It extends the use of the rehabilitation robot "Lokomat®", a gait orthosis machine into which children are strapped for sessions of variable duration, changing it from a tool into a game controller.

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GABARELLO v1.0 animates therapy for children with lower body motor loss. Before GABARELLO v1.0, therapeutic motivation was achieved through individual therapists. The game exploitsthe potential of immersion, and integrating an Augmented Feedback Module to make therapy a stimulating, self-motivated, fun experience.


GABARELLO v1.0 is kept deliberately simple to account for potential brain trauma or visual limitation of the patient, and ease of use by the therapist. The interface is a game screen attached to the biofeedback computer of the Lokomat . The game is controlled by the force of the movement of the child in the Lokomat . The level design of the game requires deliberate changes in exertion of the patient and thus meets therapeutic goals. As with most immersive games, GABARELLO v1.0 triggers brain problem-solving functions: the child is able to anticipate what s/he will do differently next time, and experiences positive rehabilitative effects for the brain as well as the body.


The avatar explores the surface of a curious planet and collects objects. The avatar's shape varies according to the intensity of effort of the controlling child. The visual feedback of the intensity is displayed through the shifting height, colour and speed of the avatar. More intensive biofeedback improves the avatar's abilities.


GABARELLO v1.0 has been in daily use for evaluation at the University Children's Hospital Zurich since December 2009. The enclosed video shows the game, the design and the interaction between GABARELLO v1.0, the robot Lokomat, the therapist and a patient.




GABARELLO v1.0 was developed by a research group of the Specialization in Game Design at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in cooperation with the University Children's Hospital Zurich, the Institute for Neuropsychology (University of Zurich) and the Sensory Motor Systems Lab (ETH Zurich).


Cornelius Müller | Prof. Ulrich Götz
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Specialization in Game Design
Centre for Serious Game Design
Ausstellungsstrasse 60, P.O. Box
CH-8031 Zurich


Zurich University of the Arts - Specialization in Game Design (alphabetical descend): Reto Spoerri, Cornelius Müller, Ulrich Götz, Florian Faller, Rene Bauer
ETHZ Sensory Motor Systems Lab: Robert Riener, Alexander Koenig
University Children's Hospital Zurich: Andreas Meyer-Heim, Karin Brütsch, Tabea Schuler