Background: Cognitive assessment using tangible objects can measure fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills along with other cognitive domains. Administering such tests is often expensive, labor-intensive, and error prone owing to manual recording and potential subjectivity. Automating the administration and scoring processes can address these difficulties while reducing time and cost. e-Cube is a new vision-based, computerized cognitive assessment tool that integrates c
omputational measures of play complexity and item generators to enable automated and adaptive testing. The e-Cube games use a set of cubes, and the system tracks the movements and locations of these cubes as manipulated by the player.
Objective: The primary objectives of the study were to validate the play complexity measures that form the basis of developing the adaptive assessment system and evaluate the preliminary utility and usability of the e-Cube system as an automated cognitive assessment tool.
Methods: This study used 6 e-Cube games, namely, Assembly, Shape-Matching, Sequence-Memory, Spatial-Memory, Path-Tracking, and Maze, each targeting different cognitive domains. In total, 2 versions of the games, the fixed version with predetermined sets of items and the adaptive version using the autonomous item generators, were prepared for comparative evaluation. Enrolled participants (N=80; aged 18-60 years) were divided into 2 groups: 48% (38/80) of the participants in the fixed group and 52% (42/80) in the adaptive group. Each was administered the 6 e-Cube games; 3 subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV; Block Design, Digit Span, and Matrix Reasoning); and the System Usability Scale (SUS). Statistical analyses at the 95% significance level were applied.
Results: The play complexity values were correlated with the performance indicators (ie, correctness and completion time). The adaptive e-Cube games were correlated with the WAIS-IV subtests (r=0.49, 95% CI 0.21-0.70; P<.001 for Assembly and Block Design; r=0.34, 95% CI 0.03-0.59; P=.03 for Shape-Matching and Matrix Reasoning; r=0.51, 95% CI 0.24-0.72; P<.001 for Spatial-Memory and Digit Span; r=0.45, 95% CI 0.16-0.67; P=.003 for Path-Tracking and Block Design; and r=0.45, 95% CI 0.16-0.67; P=.003 for Path-Tracking and Matrix Reasoning). The fixed version showed weaker correlations with the WAIS-IV subtests. The e-Cube system showed a low false detection rate (6/5990, 0.1%) and was determined to be usable, with an average SUS score of 86.01 (SD 8.75).
Conclusions: The correlations between the play complexity values and performance indicators supported the validity of the play complexity measures. Correlations between the adaptive e-Cube games and the WAIS-IV subtests demonstrated the potential utility of the e-Cube games for cognitive assessment, but a further validation study is needed to confirm this. The low false detection rate and high SUS scores indicated that e-Cube is technically reliable and usable.