The United Kingdom’s University of Southampton, in collaboration with Roke Manor Research, has pioneered the use of the Xbox 360’s Kinect to develop the world’s first process that measures hand joint movement to help stroke patients recover manual agility at home.
Taking advantage of the limb tracking technology of the Kinect, the researchers created an algorithm that tracks and measures hand joint angles and the fine dexterity of individual finger movements. The ultimate aim is to capture the data while the patients follow exercises on a TV screen. The data collected will be fed back to the therapists caring for the patient so they can continually monitor progress, reducing the need for frequent hospital visits.
“Recovering from a stroke can be a daunting and distressing time for patients and their families. Through our research we know that many people recovering from a stroke find their at-home exercises repetitive and often demotivating,” project supervisor Dr Cheryl Metcalf from the University of Southampton said.
“If they are already finding it difficult and frustrating to move their hands, they need something to encourage them to try harder. We wanted to create a more engaging way to help them recover faster. Using the Kinect we have been able to take a commercially available product and develop a highly novel tool that aims to be both cost effective and clinically applicable.”
And the researchers are not done yet. Their next objective is to create a series of computer games to make the rehabilitation process more interesting for the patient. The games will adapt to each individual’s ability and help motivate them to reach rehabilitation goals by feeding back higher scores if their joint movements improve.
The development was announced in a press statement No Game No Talk received on Tuesday.
Usually, any mainstream news we hear about gaming tends to be negative. So it really warms my heart to hear about how gaming technology has actually helped to improve lives.
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