Microsoft Kinect used to rehabilitate stroke victims

If you or a family member suffers a stroke, it can be a life-changing event. While some people do not have lasting effects, many face paralysis and weakness in different parts of their body.

In other words, someone who is very active and mobile, can be relegated to a more sedentary lifestyle. This change can have psychological impacts too.

Luckily, there are therapies for victims of stroke, that can return the patient's strength and mobility. While this therapy is normally a boring affair, the Ohio State University has devised a new technique that is beneficial to recovery, while also being fun too. You see, it uses Microsoft's Kinect device.

"Recognising the need for an effective, affordable home therapy, a team at The Ohio State University has developed a therapeutic game called Recovery Rapids - and we’re pleased to note that the Kinect sensor is an important part of this ingenious solution.

"Recovery Rapids is based on constraint-induced movement therapy (CI therapy), a method shown to produce improvement in patients regardless of their age or how long ago the injury occurred. CI therapy discourages use of the unaffected arm, and focuses on using the weakened intensively to complete prescribed tasks", says the Kinect team.

The team further explains, "a clinical trial on 11 participants with long-lasting arm weakness due to a stroke has shown the Recovery Rapids game to be as effective as traditional CI therapy in improving motor speed. Participants improved the performance of such tasks as picking up a pencil or drinking from a cup, increasing by an average of five completions per minute after two weeks of game play.

"Many participants also showed significant improvements in range of motion and arm use. In fact, 9 of the 11 participants rated Recovery Rapids as more enjoyable than other forms of rehab, and 10 of 11 said the game was more effective than other rehabilitation therapy they'd received".

This is a wonderful use of technology, that makes something that is normally tedious, to be fun. Think about it; given the opportunity, would you rather play a video game or just mindlessly do exercises? Clearly, the Kinect option will better engage a patient, while improving their condition.

What do you think of this use for the Kinect? Tell me in the comments.