About Microsoft  Kinect

Microsoft Kinect debuted as a motion-sensing game controller with open-source software development. This flexibility in functionality has transformed it into a major tool in healthcare management and has transcended the realm of just gaming.

It can be used  for measuring the way that elders walk, through to helping stroke patients regain mobility. Although there are numerous options available, some of the more popular ones could include some or more of these:

For Doctors

Gesture Support and Surgery

One of the most challenging situations for a surgeon is accessing images while in a scrub suit without an assistant. These gesture based control are now being used in select hospitals in some of the developed economies to access imagery like x – rays. In this case, the surgeon does not need to ask for support.

In practice, the Kinect software for window based systems now makes it possible for the surgeon to manipulate X-rays and scans with a mere wave of the hands. The unique benefit being that the surgeon does not need to touch the non sterile mouse or the keyboard and most importantly neither will the surgeon need to scrub down.

Gesture Support and Imagine

Conversely intervention radiologists can control their equipment without breaking their sterility just by using the gesture technology as provided by GestSure from the stables of Microsoft.

GestSure capitalizes on the concept that while surgeons and radiologists have to wear sterile gowns and gloves at all times their equipment is invariably located in a non – sterile environment. This makes it difficult for them to operate and monitor their equipment without infecting the patient.

The new age Microsoft Kinect has begun to create the perfect human and machine interface in surgical practice so as to overcome this limitation.

This then is standing evidence of the enormous potential that natural user interface exhibits in contemporary times Thus professionals the world over have begun to anticipate that natural user interfaces such as these would unleash a healthcare revolution in the near future.

The RMT Perspective

Alternatively the Reflexion Rehabilitation Measurement Tool or RMT allows physical therapists to customize schedules and treatment plans. They even allow remote monitoring of patients without the need for physical visits so as to ensure that the exercising schedule is being followed correctly.

Virtual Group Therapy

One of the more futuristic designs is about creating the right virtual group therapy option. The concept is truly exciting and Microsoft Kinect is in the process of creating the right mix for doctors. The application would help chronic alcoholism patients who will now be able to opt for a virtual group therapy session without revealing their identity.

The present practice is to have a group of alcoholism prone individuals and encourage them to talk about their journey and experiences. Invariably this kind of therapy fails as people are reluctant to open up even in front of strangers.

When this Microsoft Kinect model gets functional, it would be far easier for all participants to talk freely as their body language and gestures would be captured but their faces and identity would be masked.

For Patients

Move for Health

The Microsoft Kinect comes equipped with a full – body hands free scheme which can create simulated exercise video games. The objective of these games is that they make you move. Concurrently the Kinect camera will record all your movements and then return a feedback as to whether you are moving enough. The camera will also give you feedback about technique as it will communicate and inform as to whether you are doing the particular exercise correctly.

This innovative conversion of exercises to gaming is becoming increasingly popular with seniors and children alike.

The Virtual Follow–Up

Chronic diseases and post surgery follow ups can put the healthcare delivery system and resources under tremendous strain. Thus it is scarcely surprising that professionals have welcomed the window motion tracking technology and Kinect.  A customized application now uses this technology to provide at – home physical therapy.

Enhanced Awareness

When the Kinect for Windows motion camera is used on a PC, intensive feedback and educative material can be shared with the patient.  This is far more user friendly as compared to the current practice of a patient making a physical visit to the physical therapist who then jots down the exercises and the patient uses the instructions to exercise at home.

When using the RMT all that the patient would need to do is to hook up their Kinect Camera with their desktop PC or laptop. This is in turn connected to the TV and they can do their exercises at home in front of the TV screen while following the guided instruction on the screen.

Fall Prevention in Elders

As life expectancy is on the rise, one of the major challenges in mobile health is about predicting and preventing falls in the elderly. Passive Microsoft Kinect sensors are now being developed which would help analyze the gait and would be able to send out a warning just before a fall happens. This would help minimize fall surgeries significantly in the coming years.

Stroke and Gaming

One of the most fascinating breakthroughs in recent years has been using Microsoft Kinect to create ‘games’ on this gaming platform which would then help diagnose, monitor and rehabilitate stroke patients.

Experts are of the opinion that the objective of using Kinect games hooked to a window based PC is to successfully rehabilitate stroke patients at the lowest possible cost and ensures getting them back on their feet in the shortest possible time.

The Physically Challenged

Navigation for the Blind – Speech for the Deaf

Kinect sensors are now being used to identify 3D objects with a high degree of accuracy in real time situations. In simple terms the blind would now be able to navigate through complex buildings without the risk of collisions.

Yet another alternative breakthrough is that now the deaf would be able to translate sign language into text and speech using this new age technology.

Conclusion

Microsoft Kinect is on the brink of starting a healthcare revolution which uses devices to improve communication between doctors and patients. It’s evident that there is more to Kinect than just entertainment, and it’s fascinating how healthcare facilities across the world use it. The future holds much more exciting developments – we’ll have to wait and watch.

REFERENCES:

  1. http://mobihealthnews.com/25281/eight-ways-the-microsoft-kinect-will-change-healthcare
  2. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/touchlesssurgery-060712.aspx
  3. http://jeremykooyman.com/healthcare-applications-of-microsofts-new-kinect-sensor
  4. http://www.imedicalapps.com/2012/04/innovative-health-startups-launched-using-microsoft-kinect
  5. http://news.softpedia.com/news/Microsoft-Kinect-Helps-People-Regain-Mobility-Muscle-Strength-242015.shtml