Uncategorized

Kinect Helping With Senior Health

Tiger Place, an independent living center in Missouri, uses technology such as Kinect to closely monitor seniors’ movement to help prevent functional decline that can lead to falls and decreased mobility. From Microsoft.

From a Microsoft press release, but still really interesting: a researcher is looking at using Kinect to track a senior citizen’s walking more regularly than the usual once or twice a year to make sure they’ve still got that pep in their step:

What if technology could help prevent falls, and in some cases even prolong lives?

Marilyn Rantz and her colleagues at the University of Missouri are researching just that, using Microsoft’s Kinect to measure and monitor subtle changes in the gait and movement of older people. Using technology to measure the way people walk more completely and daily, rather than at bi-yearly doctor’s appointments, can give healthcare professionals a chance to intervene sooner.

[Independent Living Center] Tiger Place focuses on monitoring its residents with a network of sensors placed in apartments, a monitoring network that now includes Kinect sensors in many rooms. What’s more, Tiger Place is an “age in place” facility, meaning seniors don’t have to move to different housing as they get older and require more assistance – the new services they need as they age are brought in to them, Rantz said.

Several apartments in Tiger Place have a Kinect mounted near the ceiling in the living room, where day after day the devices gather a mountain of data about the resident’s movement and motion.

Helping seniors is just one of a growing number of healthcare applications for Kinect.

Doctors are also using Kinect to help stroke patients regain movement. Surgeons are using it to access information without leaving the operating room and in the process sacrificing sterility. Healthcare workers are even using it to help with physical therapy and children with developmental disabilities or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Thus, the genesis of the so-called “Kinect Effect” – a term coined in the hallways and conference rooms of Microsoft to describe the device’s increasingly widespread appeal and diversity of uses.

Read the entire release at Kinect Effect Reaches Into Hospitals, Senior Centers.

I’m a huge fan of Kinect hacks, especially when a Kinect is modified to help people move better in their homes and everyday surroundings. It is relatively cheap compared to a lot of other medical equipment, and the hack is often fun to use as well as being practical.

autism · behavior · children · cognition · creativity · mental health · psychology · technology

Using Play and Technology for Therapy

Griffin Wajda and Juan Pablo Hourcade in Iowa City, IA, play a collaborative-storytelling app.

I truly think technology (and play) are underutilized when it comes to all kinds of therapy, partially because it’s expensive, and partially because people don’t know how to implement it. This article in the Wall Street Journal offers a great example of how people are integrating play AND technology into therapy.

Multitouch technology—which turned smartphones, iPads and other tablet computers into consumer sensations—has a new function: therapy for cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorders, as well as a range of developmental disabilities. Researchers from at least three North American universities, including Iowa, are developing therapeutic applications for multitouch devices. Games developed by the Scientists’ Discovery Room Lab at Harvard University, and by University of Alberta researcher Michelle Annett, encourage children with cerebral palsy and stroke victims to stretch their range of upper arm and wrist motion.

“It’s a very motivating tool for the patients. It’s visual, the feedback is instant and it’s fun,” said Isabel Henderson, vice president of Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton, Canada, where games on a touch-screen table are part of stroke victims’ physical rehabilitation.

The new apps offer patients engaging ways to address their medical conditions over the long term, said Quentin Ranson, an occupational therapist at the Alberta hospital. They also could help reduce the time patients need to spend in expensive traditional therapy, Mr. Ranson said.

Children with cerebral palsy—a group of disorders caused by brain damage before or shortly after birth—work to improve their motor skills and coordination through repetitive exercises like wiping a cloth across a table, stringing beads on a pipe cleaner or throwing a ball back and forth. Patients recovering from stroke do much of the same, stacking cones and flipping cards to help them lift their arms against gravity.

more via the Wall Street Journal.

This is just one example of how using play and the right tools can encourage development and healing.

behavior · brain · disease · health · learning · Mental · neuroscience · technology

Sensor Glove Could Help Stroke Patients Recover Mobility Through Gaming | Ecouterre

The brain is such an amazing thing, and has such amazing capabilities to recover, it just needs the right tool; in this case, using video games as a type of mental and physical therapy for stroke victims. Using computer games is also useful because it is more engaging for the brain, rather than traditional physical exercises like “pick up the cup” since framing it as a game often makes it seem less consequential for players (this is a new exercise whereas they used to know how to pick up a cup) and therefore less pressure and more fun:

Four mechanical-engineering students at McGill University in Canada have developed an inexpensive sensor glove that allows patients to exercise in a game-like fashion at home with minimal supervision. Self-therapy? Well, yes and no. Using the accompanying software, doctors will be able to monitor their charges’ progress off-site, cutting down on hospital visits and costs.

The added benefit of remote monitoring for doctors is also good for the patient, as the doctor can respond right away if they see something wrong or can provide immediate feedback, rather than having to schedule an appointment, travel to the doctor’s office, and have all of your questions answered, all of this being extra hard after you’ve had a stroke and need others to help transport you.

Check out the original story at  Sensor Glove Could Help Stroke Patients Recover Mobility Through Gaming | Ecouterre.