The Xbox Kinect, a motion sensor that allows users to play the XBox game console without a remote, has inspired people around the world to create Kinect hacks, enabling the use of the technology for various purposes. Many of these hacks have been health-related, for example, people have used Kinect to create systems that can be used to detect autism and manipulate MRI scans.
Now, University of Southampton (Southampton, UK) and Roke Manor Research Ltd (Romsey, UK) have used Kinect to create a new computer algorithm used to support the recovery of stroke patients. The system is used to track and measure hand joints movements of patients while they follow exercises on the TV screen. The data collected will be transmitted to the patient’s physical therapist.
The system is designed to complement home-based physiotherapy. At-home exercises are often repetitive and boring, says health sciences academic Dr Cheryl Metcalf at the University of Southampton, who supervises the project. The next step is to create a series of computer games than can make the rehabilitation process more interesting. The games will be adapted to each patient’s individual abilities and will motivate them by giving higher scores when joint movements improve. The YouTube video below describes the project.
Kinect hacks have been common since Microsoft launched the system. Microsoft soon responded by releasing Kinect for Windows, which allows any application to leverage the Kinect. Microsoft also launched the Kinect Accelerator, a competition for startups that have developed Kinect applications. Finalists will demonstrate their applications during the Demo day, taking place tomorrow in Seattle.Camilla Andersson