Kinect helps stroke victims with rehab

Add stroke survivors to the growing list of patients taking advantage of Microsoft's Xbox Kinect technology to improve their health. A new algorithm-based process developed by researchers at the University of Southampton in the U.K. helps such patients to measure their hand joint movement, the University announced last week.

Such technology eventually could allow patients to avoid time-consuming trips to the hospital for rehabilitation, instead enabling them to exercise their limbs at home and to track their movements. The researchers are working on feeding that information back to therapists for continuous monitoring of the patients.

"Through our research, we know that many people recovering from a stroke find their at-home exercises repetitive and often demotivating," University of Southampton researcher Cheryl Metcalf said in a statement. "If they are already finding it difficult and frustrating to move their hands, they need something to encourage them to try harder."

Kinect technology use in healthcare continues to grow. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are working on ways to use Kinect to help with early diagnosis of autism. What's more, the technology is helping seniors in Los Angeles to be more active.

Meanwhile, surgeons at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto are using Kinect technology to pull up diagnostic images or to adjust their view of such images without having to physically touch a computer. The technology helps the surgeons to avoid a lengthy resterilization process by allowing them to stay in the sterile zone during a procedure.

To learn more:
- read the University of Southampton announcement
- watch out this video from the university on the technology

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