Kinect’s deployment in physical therapy

The Microsoft Kinect is proving to be a versatile platform for physical therapy and more. Microsoft’s public sector solutions area has been busily developing relationships to pair up off-the-shelf software with Kinect so that injured soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines can perform their physical therapy effectively at home. The latest is with the US Air Force to define requirements for a Kinect therapy system and with the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC). DARPA, the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, Army Medicine, the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and contractors Lockheed Martin, SAIC and CACI have all expressed interest in the Kinect. Beyond PT, the Army is seeking proposals for adapting Kinect for pilot training and simulation. Microsoft is also exploring how Kinect could be used in PTSD treatment. This is in addition to West Health Institute’s partnering with the Naval Medical Center of San Diego to conduct clinical trials of the West Health-developed Reflexion Rehabilitation Measurement Tool (RMT) using Kinect [TA 23 Oct]. This is cheering news as Kinect is inexpensive and PC-based, using equipment many soldiers and reservists already have at home. At least there is no FDA to come down on Microsoft for ‘off-label use’ of its electronics. Microsoft Wants to Kinect with Pentagon (Defense News) Can the Kinect Help Heal Wounded Veterans? (MIT Technology News) Hat tip to Toni Bunting of TANN Ireland.

UPDATE 16 Jan: Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) is also testing a Kinect-based rehabilitation program. This adds a smartphone-lined mobile sensor unit to measures vital signs such as pulse, oxygen saturation levels, and (where applicable) ECG/EKG readings. The physiotherapist sees this data in addition to the Kinect-based information and can tailor therapy to avoid dangerous levels of stress. Gizmag.

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