Novel use of the Nintendo Wii board as a measure of reaction time: a study of reproducibility in older and younger adults

Martin G. Jørgensen, Sentha Paramanathan, Jesper Ryg, Tahir Masud, Stig Andersen

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Background: Reaction time (RT) has been associated with falls in older adults, but is not routinely tested in clinical practice. A simple, portable, inexpensive and reliable method for measuring RT is desirable for clinical settings. We therefore developed a custom software, which utilizes the portable and low-cost standard Nintendo Wii board (NWB) to record RT. The aims in the study were to (1) explore if the test could differentiate old and young adults, and (2) to study learning effects between test-sessions, and (3) to examine reproducibility. Methods: A young (n∈=∈25, age 20-35 years, mean BMI of 22.6) and an old (n∈=∈25, age ≥65 years, mean BMI of 26.3) study-population were enrolled in this within- and between-day reproducibility study. A standard NWB was used along with the custom software to obtain RT from participants in milliseconds. A mixed effect model was initially used to explore systematic differences associated with age, and test-session. Reproducibility was then expressed by Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC), Coefficient of Variance (CV), and Typical Error (TE). Results: The RT tests was able to differentiate the old group from the young group in both the upper extremity test (p∈<∈0.001; -170.7 ms (95%CI -209.4;-132.0)) and the lower extremity test (p∈<∈0.001; -224.3 ms (95%CI -274.6;-173.9)). Moreover, the mixed effect model showed no significant learning effect between sessions with exception of the lower extremity test between session one and three for the young group (-35,5 ms; 4.6 %; p∈=∈0.02). A good within- and between-day reproducibility (ICC: 0.76-0.87; CV: 8.5-12.9; TE: 45.7-95.1 ms) was achieved for both the upper and lower extremity test with the fastest of three trials in both groups. Conclusion: A low-cost and portable reaction test utilizing a standard Nintendo wii board showed good reproducibility, no or little systematic learning effects across test-sessions, and could differentiate between young and older adults in both upper and lower extremity tests.

Original languageEnglish
Article number80
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 10. Jul 2015


  • Nintendo wii board
  • Older adults
  • Reaction time
  • Reproducibility
  • Young adults
  • Body Mass Index
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Age Factors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted/methods
  • Problem-Based Learning/methods
  • Accidental Falls/prevention & control
  • Reaction Time/physiology
  • Extremities/physiopathology
  • Postural Balance/physiology
  • Video Games
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Aged


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