On the use of low-cost computer peripherals for the assessment of motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease – Quantification of bradykinesia using target tracking tasks

D. P. Allen, J. R. Playfer, N. M. Aly, P. Duffey, A. Heald, S. L. Smith, D. M. Halliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The potential of computer games peripherals to measure the motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s diseases is assessed. Of particular interest is the quantification of bradykinesia. Previous studies used modified or custom haptic interfaces, here an unmodified force feedback joystick and steering wheel are used with a laptop. During testing an on screen cursor moves in response to movements of the peripheral, the user has to track a continuously moving target (pursuit tracking), or move to a predetermined target (step tracking). All tasks use movement in the horizontal axis, allowing use of joystick or steering wheel. Two pursuit tracking tasks are evaluated, pseudo random movement, and a swept frequency task. Two step tracking tasks are evaluated, movement between two or between two of five fixed targets. Thirteen patients and five controls took part on a weekly basis. Patients were assessed for bradykinesia at each session using standard clinical measures. A range of quantitative measures was developed to allow comparison between and within patients and controls using ANOVA. Both peripherals are capable of discriminating between controls and patients, and between patients with different levels of bradykinesia. Recommendations for test procedures and peripherals are given.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-294
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Bradykinesia
  • Computer interfaces
  • Parkinsons's disease
  • Pursuit tracking
  • Abnormalities
  • Performance
  • Time

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