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Dr Jaime Garcia Marin


Jaime is a young researcher examining the use of interactive video game technologies as a tool to improve physical and mental health. 

Until recently, Jaime worked as a Software Engineer at Neuroscience Research Australia, primarily designing, developing and maintaining fall prevention video games and mobile apps for the Falls Balance Injury Research Centre. He holds a PhD in Software Engineering and Information Systems from the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and a BSc in Computer Science and Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali (Colombia). 

His most relevant projects are the StepKinnection system (a bespoke Kinect game to prevent falls in the elderly) and the MobileRehApp (an Augmented Reality mobile game for ankle sprain rehabilitation). These projects have led to a series of high-quality publications in well-established international conferences and journals.

Jaime has been the recipient of several scholarships including the UTS IRS Scholarship for International Students and the iNext Serious Game Scholarship, among others. He has also been awarded with the Branko Cesnik Award for the best scientific paper in 2012 and 2015.

Jaime’s work has been profiled in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Ageing Agenda, the Enquiring Minds Television Show on TVS and the UTS News Room.

Image of Jaime Garcia Marin
Lecturer, School of Software
Networking Cisco CCNA, Computer Science & Engineering, Serious Games for Health

Research Interests

Games for health, Game Design for the Elderly
Can supervise: Yes
Game Design Studio 


Pisan, Y., Garcia Marin, J.A. & Felix Navarro, K.M. 2013, 'Improving Lives: Using Microsoft Kinect to Predict the Loss of Balance for Elderly Users under Cognitive Load', Proceedings of the Ninth Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, Interactive Entertainment, ACM Press, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-4.
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Among older adults, falling down while doing everyday tasks is the leading cause for injuries, disabilities and can even result in death. Furthermore, even when no injury has occurred the fear of falling can result in loss of confidence and independence. The two major factors in the loss of balance is weakening of the muscles and reduced cognitive skills. While exercise programmes can reduce the risk of falling by 40%, patient compliance with these programmes is low. We present the Microsoft-Kinect based step training program system that we have developed specifically for elderly patients. The program measures physical health and cognitive abilities and incorporates an individualized adaptive program for improvements. The real-time data obtained from the program is similar to clinical evaluations typically conducted by doctors and the game-like exercises result in increased adherence to the exercise regimes
Garcia Marin, J.A., Lawrence, E.M., Felix Navarro, K.M. & Sax, C. 2011, 'Heuristic Evaluation for Interactive Games within Elderly Users', The Third International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine (eTELEMED 2011), The Third International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine, IARIA Conference, Gosier, Guadalupe, France, pp. 130-133.
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This paper presents the results obtained after performing a number of demonstrations followed by a series of interviews concerning the usage of interactive games as a tool to improve both physical and mental well-being of elderly persons. This study points out the importance of a proper design regarding the usability of video games for the aged to ensure the elderly benefit from such games.
Felix Navarro, K.M., Lawrence, E.M., Garcia Marin, J.A. & Sax, C. 2011, 'A Dynamic and Customisable Layered Serious Game Design Framework for Improving the Physical and Mental Health of the Aged and the Infirm', The Third International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine (eTELEMED 2011), Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine, IARIA Conference, Gosier, Guadeloupe, France, pp. 140-145.
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This paper proposes a dynamic and customizable layered serious game design framework for improving the physical and mental health of the aged after presenting the results obtained from a study with mainstream and alternative/complimentary health professionals concerning the usage of interactive games as a tool to improve both physical and mental well-being of the elderly. This study reports on the commonality of design and health factors regarding the usability of video games for the aged to ensure the elderly benefit from traditional and alternative healthcare professionalsâ perspectives.
Garcia Marin, J.A., Felix Navarro, K.M. & Lawrence, E.M. 2010, 'Serious Games to Improve the Physical Health of the Elderly: A Categorization Scheme', The Fourth International Conference on Advances in Human-oriented and Personalized Mechanisms, Technologies, and Services (CENTRIC 2011), International Conference on Advances in Human-oriented and Personalized Mechanisms, Technologies, and Services, IARIA, Barcelona, Spain, pp. 64-71.
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this paper aims to provide a snapshot of the current status in the field of serious games for improving the physical health of the elderly. This work covers recent research projects for stroke rehabilitation and for falls prevention where user-center design methodologies were applied in order to satisfy this audience. A classification of the most relevant work in this area is provided along with a brief description of the platform, technology required and user-center design principles applied.

Journal articles

Garcia, J.A., Schoene, D., Lord, S.R., Delbaere, K., Valenzuela, T. & Navarro, K.F. 2016, 'A Bespoke Kinect Stepping Exergame for Improving Physical and Cognitive Function in Older People: A Pilot Study.', Games Health J, vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 382-388.
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BACKGROUND: Systematic review evidence has shown that step training reduces the number of falls in older people by half. This study investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of a bespoke Kinect stepping exergame in an unsupervised home-based setting. MATERIALS AND METHODS: An uncontrolled pilot trial was conducted in 12 community-dwelling older adults (mean age 79.3&plusmn;8.7 years, 10 females). The stepping game comprised rapid stepping, attention, and response inhibition. Participants were recommended to exercise unsupervised at home for a minimum of three 20-minute sessions per week over the 12-week study period. The outcome measures were choice stepping reaction time (CSRT) (main outcome measure), standing balance, gait speed, five-time sit-to-stand (STS), timed up and go (TUG) performance, and neuropsychological function (attention: letter-digit and executive function:Stroop tests) assessed at baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and trial end (12 weeks). RESULTS: Ten participants (83%) completed the trial and reassessments. A median 8.2 20-minute sessions were completed and no adverse events were reported. Across the trial period, participants showed significant improvements in CSRT (11%), TUG (13%), gait speed (29%), standing balance (7%), and STS (24%) performance (all P<0.05). There were also nonsignificant, but meaningful, improvements for the letter-digit (13%) and Stroop tests (15%). CONCLUSIONS: This study found that a bespoke Kinect step training program was safe and feasible for older people to undertake unsupervised at home and led to improvements in stepping, standing balance, gait speed, and mobility. The home-based step training program could therefore be included in exercise programs designed to prevent falls.
Schoene, D., Valenzuela, T., Toson, B., Delbaere, K., Severino, C., Garcia, J., Davies, T.A., Russell, F., Smith, S.T. & Lord, S.R. 2015, 'Interactive Cognitive-Motor Step Training Improves Cognitive Risk Factors of Falling in Older Adults - A Randomized Controlled Trial.', PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 12, p. e0145161.
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PURPOSE: Interactive cognitive-motor training (ICMT) requires individuals to perform both gross motor movements and complex information processing. This study investigated the effectiveness of ICMT on cognitive functions associated with falls in older adults. METHODS: A single-blinded randomized controlled trial was conducted in community-dwelling older adults (N = 90, mean age 81.5&plusmn;7) without major cognitive impairment. Participants in the intervention group (IG) played four stepping games that required them to divide attention, inhibit irrelevant stimuli, switch between tasks, rotate objects and make rapid decisions. The recommended minimum dose was three 20-minute sessions per week over a period of 16 weeks unsupervised at home. Participants in the control group (CG) received an evidence-based brochure on fall prevention. Measures of processing speed, attention/executive function (EF), visuo-spatial ability, concerns about falling and depression were assessed before and after the intervention. RESULTS: Eighty-one participants (90%) attended re-assessment. There were no improvements with respect to the Stroop Stepping Test (primary outcome) in the intervention group. Compared to the CG, the IG improved significantly in measures of processing speed, visuo-spatial ability and concern about falling. Significant interactions were observed for measures of EF and divided attention, indicating group differences varied for different levels of the covariate with larger improvements in IG participants with poorer baseline performance. The interaction for depression showed no change for the IG but an increase in the CG for those with low depressive symptoms at baseline. Additionally, low and high-adherer groups differed in their baseline performance and responded differently to the intervention. Compared to high adherers, low adherers improved more in processing speed and visual scanning while high-adherers improved more in tasks related to EF. CONCLUSIONS: This study sho...
Garcia Marin, J.A., Navarro, K.F., Schoene, D., Smith, S. & Pisan, Y. 2012, 'Exergames for the elderly: towards an embedded Kinect-based clinical test of falls risk', Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, vol. 178, no. 1, pp. 51-57.
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Falls are the leading cause of disability, injuries or even death among older adults. Exercise programmes that include a balance component reduce the risk of falling by 40%. However, such interventions are often perceived as boring and drop-out rates are high. The characteristics of videogames may overcome this weakness and increase exercise adherence. The use of modern input devices, such as the Microsoft Kinect, enables quantification of player performance in terms of motor function while engaging with games. This capability has just started to be explored. The work presented in this paper focuses on the development of a Kinect-based system to deliver step training while simultaneously measuring parameters of stepping performance that have shown to predict falls in older people.