ENGS 88 Honors Thesis (AB Students)

Author ORCID Identifier


Degree Program


Year of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Elizabeth L. Murnane

Document Type

Thesis (Senior Honors)

Publication Date

Fall 11-30-2022


Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are the leading cause of disability worldwide. Every year, 50% of American adults over 18 years-old develop an MSK condition that requires physical therapy (PT). However, only about 35% of patients fully adhere to their plans of treatment. As the population ages and telehealth permeates the PT industry, there is a growing need as well as an opportunity to use new and emerging technologies to create immersive interfaces that increase motivation. This thesis explores the potential VR-based gameful experiences to improve engagement and follow-through with at-home physical therapy for ACL injury, a common acute MSK condition that can be detrimental to mobility without good adherence to treatment plans. I present RecoVR, an application that collects motion data in real-time using computer vision, and provides feedback while stimulating drive through an immersive VR minigame mapped to two core PT exercises for ACL recovery. Testing the game component of the app with six healthy students with PT experience for knee injury uncovered a positive response to the game, as qualitatively assessed through a combination of surveys and semi-scripted interviewing. All participants rated their experience at or above a 4 out of 5 for all questions involving a likert scale, where 5 represented the most positive outcome. These preliminary results show the potential of such systems to improve adherence to at-home PT treatment, encouraging further development for larger-scale testing efforts to understand long-term user engagement.

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