Usability of an Embodied CAVE System for Spatial Navigation Training in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Cosimo Tuena, Silvia Serino, Chiara Stramba-Badiale, Elisa Pedroli, Karine Marie Goulene, Marco Stramba-Badiale, Giuseppe Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) usually report navigation and spatial memory impairments. Spatial navigation is an embodied process that requires the active involvement of both physical (e.g., motor commands and proprioception) and cognitive (e.g., decision-making and mental rotation) information. Immersive virtual reality (IVR) is a valuable tool that employs this information as real-world navigation does. Given the crucial impact of spatial navigation on daily life, research should focus on ways to enhance it. Though they are still in their development, contemporary IVR methods for spatial navigation training in MCI seem promising. In this usability study, eight patients with MCI syndrome tested an IVR spatial navigation training demo and interacted with the CAVE using active stereo glasses, a foot-motion pad, and a joypad. During the demo, users were asked to report their impressions on the IVR training using the thinking-aloud procedure. Moreover, questionnaires regarding usability, presence and cybersickness were administered at the end of the experience. Our results show that the first version of this system is usable by the patients even if most of them did not have experience with PC/IVR. The system provided a moderate sense of spatial presence and limited negative effects. Issues found during the thinking-aloud procedure concerned the visual aspects, which affected the interaction user-system. Participants reported that they needed more practice with the foot-motion pad even though the overall experience was positively evaluated. Identifying these critical features was essential to develop an improved version of the current system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1949-N/A
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • aging
  • dementia
  • virtual reality
  • spatial memory
  • embodiment


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