Saturday, 4 August 2012

Research: Validity of the Microsoft Kinect for assessment of postural control.

Gait Posture. 2012 Jul;36(3):372-7.

Clark RA, Pua YH, Fortin K, Ritchie C, Webster KE, Denehy L, Bryant AL.
Source: Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Clinically feasible methods of assessing postural control such as timed standing balance and functional reach tests provide important information, however, they cannot accurately quantify specific postural control mechanisms. The Microsoft Kinect™ system provides real-time anatomical landmark position data in three dimensions (3D), and given that it is inexpensive, portable and simple to setup it may bridge this gap. This study assessed the concurrent validity of the Microsoft Kinect™ against a benchmark reference, a multiple-camera 3D motion analysis system, in 20 healthy subjects during three postural control tests: (i) forward reach, (ii) lateral reach, and (iii) single-leg eyes-closed standing balance. For the reach tests, the outcome measures consisted of distance reached and trunk flexion angle in the sagittal (forward reach) and coronal (lateral reach) planes. For the standing balance test the range and deviation of movement in the anatomical landmark positions for the sternum, pelvis, knee and ankle and the lateral and anterior trunk flexion angle were assessed. The Microsoft Kinect™ and 3D motion analysis systems had comparable inter-trial reliability (ICC difference=0.06±0.05; range, 0.00-0.16) and excellent concurrent validity, with Pearson's r-values >0.90 for the majority of measurements (r=0.96±0.04; range, 0.84-0.99). However, ordinary least products analyses demonstrated proportional biases for some outcome measures associated with the pelvis and sternum. These findings suggest that the Microsoft Kinect™ can validly assess kinematic strategies of postural control. Given the potential benefits it could therefore become a useful tool for assessing postural control in the clinical setting.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Burn Calories on Kinect, Track Them With Kinect PlayFit

July 10, 2012

Kinect PlayFit is a new fitness dashboard on Xbox LIVE that lets players track the calories they burn while having fun with Kinect. The new dashboard joins a growing number of titles and experiences that use Kinect as a fitness tool.

Microsoft today unveiled Kinect PlayFit, a new Kinect fitness dashboard on Xbox LIVE that lets players track calories burned across multiple Kinect games. Available as a free download from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, the app calculates and aggregates the calories players burn so they can track their progress over time, see how they rank against friends, and earn Xbox achievements.

The goal of the app is to motivate families to get off the couch and reward them for having fun, said Chuck Frizelle, executive producer for Kinect PlayFit.

“We’re trying to show that Kinect is not only fun but healthy for you, too,” he said. “Ultimately, Kinect PlayFit is a motivational tool. We want to motivate people to change their behavior and be more active.”

Kinect PlayFit will track fitness progress across a dozen games at first, with more titles to come later, Frizelle said. The dashboard lets players view their daily, weekly, monthly, and overall calorie burn totals, and Xbox leaderboards offer the chance to compare progress with friends and the overall Xbox LIVE community. Players can also earn up to 20 Xbox achievements, including bonus avatar awards, and post them on Facebook.

Kinect PlayFit joins a growing number of games and experiences such as “ Kinect Sports ,” “ Zumba Fitness ,” and the upcoming “Nike+ Kinect Training” that highlight how Kinect is bringing fitness into the living room, said Dave McCarthy, general manager for Kids and Lifestyle Entertainment in Microsoft Studios.

“With our new fitness dashboard, we are acknowledging that Kinect games are a legitimate part of an active lifestyle,” he said. “If you just want to be active and celebrate that, and maybe have fun and compete with your friends, Kinect PlayFit really opens up a whole different world for you.”

he device’s impact on health is spreading beyond entertainment as Kinect for Windows pushes the platform beyond the living room. Developers are now tapping the Kinect capabilities for a wide range of health scenarios, including home physical therapy and remote patient monitoring, which could play a role in the ongoing discussion around healthcare reform.

Click here for full article

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

SeeMe Rehab software review

SeeMe is a virtual reality software that encourages a variety of physical skills that are commonly incorporated within general therapy sessions.  It is a specially designed rehabilitative software that uses a PC/laptop and a Kinect.  In a nut shell the programme is well thought out and aimed specifically at therapists for use with patients who are working on balance skills, alongside problem solving, reaction speed, proprioception and upper limb co-ordination skills.

The software offers control over the range and quality of the movement required to play the games along with control over the period of time played, level of difficulty and the colour of back drops to maximise the patients success based on both preference, accessibility and ability.

The games included in the software are listed on the developers website along with details of what each game entails.  Whilst the game doesn't list the conditions the software can be used with, the general aim of most of the games revolve around balance, with a bilateral stance, and or upper limb range of movement.  By choosing different games and using the flexible settings, it is possible to set the games up to be used with a wide range of patients presenting with a spectrum of physical abilities or limitations.

The following video demonstrates an overview of the software.

The flexibility that the programme offers easily enables the therapist and patient to set achievable goals and therefore the ability to start the games at a level that encourages motivation and enables success.  Progression towards goals is easy to monitor, follow and document with the programme recording and allowing results to be saved.

Below explains what data is recorded/measured from each game, giving an idea of the possible outcome measures that can be obtained from the games in isolation or collectively.

For SeeMe Ball the programme collects information regarding accuracy, activity (left and right) aswell as the positive and negative actions produced during game play.

SeeMe Cleaner reports statsitcs of efficiency and left/right activity.

SeeMe React collects information and data about the accuracy of the players choices and about the activity in general which includes the movement time, positive and negative actions on each upper limb.

SeeMe Raft collects data on the accuracy, the activity and the number of positive and negative actions occuring during the game.

SeeMe Maze collects and presents information regarding accuracy, activity and the blocks movement, which can be interpreted as the number of box moves in a certain time.

SeeMe Space similarly collects accuracy and left/right activity information.

SeeMe Sorter collects data on the eficiency of the play along with activity of left and right side.

Print outs of the data is easily achieved with full control of which statistics to be printed being given to the therapist.  Print outs can compare previous sessions - reporting all collected statistics or just comparing one. Examples of the different reports are found within the demo or by clicking on the following links.

From the above list of available statistics is possible to recognise the potential of this piece of software to record patient activity and progression. 

The programme in its full edition allows multiple therapists to sign in and use the software, allowing them to each record patient details on file.  The patient records are saved alongside their game setup - saving precious time each session and allowing for patients to start new sessions exactly where the left off, which is often difficult to achieve with other console games.

There a very few negative comments about this programme.  Firstly though, on the positive side, it is very therapy friendly.  Its easy to install and navigate around.  The setup of each game is easy to master due to the simple layout of controls.  The recording of patient results and the ability to print out their progress is an important attribute, providing its own outcome recording system.  The ability to use a projector and have the screens split, so that the set up screen is on the laptop and the 'play screen' is on the projector, means that distractions possible from the setup screen is minimal.

The downsides are really only two fold.  One - it is quite expensive.  With the setup of the hardware including access to a PC/laptop (which most therapists already have) and a Kinect camera at a cost of around £100 (at time of writing), the programme comes in at $3999.  The only other downside that was met during testing was that the Kinect doesn't always pick up the skeletal points when someone is sat in a wheelchair with a head rest.  It was fairly intermittent and not a failure of the software - more of the Kinect itself (which has the same problem to a more noticeable degree when being used with the Xbox).  Unfortunately it hasn't been possible to identify exactly when and why wheelchair users or use of equipment does/doesn't register - this is ongoing with regards to trial and error.  The software does work with basic walking aids, standing slings, sitting on a normal chair or the edge of a plinth - enabling many patients to benefit without any problems at all.

A demo version is available on the website and if you have access to a PC/laptop and Kinect camera then I would strongly recommend trialling the programme.  If this is a taste of the quality of programmes set to be available with the use of the Kinect camera, then therapy is in for a real treat.

For more information from the developers website - click here

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Startups Try to Help Microsoft's Kinect Grow Up Beyond Gaming.

BY DINA BASS | MAY 21, 2012

Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor lets gamers wield a light saber or slice falling fruit ninja-style, but Jintronix sees a more serious use — rehabilitating patients who have suffered a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Jintronix is among 11 startups housed at Microsoft as part of the software giant’s 13-week accelerator program, which is designed to help developers build apps around Kinect for Windows, a version of the Xbox device that has been tweaked for the personal computer to broaden the technology’s reach in the home and office.

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

An evolution for the Jintronix hardware - Stroke Rehab and Virtual Reality

This week Jintronix is pleased to officially announce a new direction for the hardware component of our solution. In order to fully compliment our adaptive software we have decided to evolve past out initial glove and camera set-up, to utilizing the Microsoft Kinect. This decision aligns with our corporate mission of offering easy to use and accessible systems.

The Kinect is a camera system, developed by Microsoft, which is able to track the gross motor movements and relative angles of the patient’s upper and lower body limbs. Originally designed for use with their X-Box gaming system, Microsoft has since released software that allows the Kinect to be used on both laptop and desktop computers.

Click for more information - company website

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Kinect imaging lets surgeons keep their focus.

17 May 2012 by MacGregor Campbell
New Scientist

THE surgeon enters the operating theatre, covered in sterile blue scrubs. Machines beep and hiss. Nurses wait, tools at the ready: scalpel, forceps, bandage, Xbox... Xbox?

On Tuesday last week, a surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London began trials of a new device that uses an Xbox Kinect camera to sense body position. Just by waving his arms the surgeon can consult and sift through medical images, such as CT scans or real-time X-rays, while in the middle of an operation.
Maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room is paramount, but scrubbing in and out to scroll through scan images mid-operation can be time-consuming and break a surgeon's concentration or sense of flow. Depending on the type of surgery, a surgeon will stop and consult medical images anywhere from once an hour to every few minutes. To avoid leaving the table, many surgeons rely on assistants to manipulate the computer for them, a distracting and sometimes frustrating process.

"Up until now, I'd been calling out across the room to one of our technical assistants, asking them to manipulate the image, rotate one way, rotate the other, pan up, pan down, zoom in, zoom out," says Tom Carrell, a consultant vascular surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas', who led the operation on 8 May to repair an aneurism in a patient's aorta. With the Kinect, he says, "I had very intuitive control".

Click here for more

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A Therapists guide to the Kinect

The Microsoft Kinect continues to develop as a potential tool to be used within rehabilitation.  The following link to a page on explains how the Kinect can be used alongside gaming consoles, laptops or PCs to enable movement controlled games that have potential within the rehab arena.

Click here for Kinect within Therapy webpage.

Information from the webpage is as follows:

Kinect within Therapy

Recent developments within the world of technology have seen an increase in usage of the Kinect primesense camera within rehabilitation.

The Kinect was released as a motion controlled sensor for the Microsoft Xbox in November 2010.  Since then Microsoft have released what are known as its SDK - Service Development Kits, which enable programmers to develop software that will work with the Kinect - something that Nintendo have never done.

Read below for an overview of the Kinect - how it works and its potential within therapy, or browse the blog site 'Kinect'in Therapy'.

If you have any questions about the use of the Kinect, please feel free to get in touch.
1. Xbox & Kinect – the obvious starting point as it demos the motion control potential at a ‘commercial’ level. Its application in therapy is less appropriate though due to the high level of quality of movement to make selections and control movements. The games often present the player/patient as an avatar, which I think challenges the perception of body image for some people with deformities/limited movements.

2. SeeMe rehabilitation software – PC based software using the Kinect Camera. A well thought out piece of software. The website is as follows: Its worth getting a demo version and having a go – it ticks a lot of boxes with regards to flexible and measurable movement activities that can easily be incorporated into therapy sessions. A review is due to be available on the Kinect'in Therapy Blog site soon.

3. FAAST –  FAAST is an emulator that interprets movements created into key strokes which enables windows based games or applications to be controlled through movement. Theres quite a bit of setup in this, but the researchers have been developing games within rehab – its worth looking at their ‘Jewel Thief’ using the primesense camera video on youtube.

4. Kinect2scratch – Scratch is a basic programming studio which enables ‘anyone’ to write a computer program. There is some software called Kinect2Scratch that links the Kinect camera to the programming studio – meaning that some games can be controlled using motion control via the kinect camera. A couple of students in Ireland and putting together some simple rehab games using this method. Their webpage with more info is

5. Kinect for Microsoft SDK – This is likely to be where most of the development comes from. Unlike Nintendo who have kept coding/programmer commercial, Microsoft has invited people to write their own programs/software. I don’t write programs but I have downloaded the SDK and had a good number of the applications working with ease – e.g the mouse controller and paint program. They aren’t rehab orientated as such, but do demonstrate the quality and control that is achievable. 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Inside Kinect - for those interested!

Anyone interested in how the Kinect works should take a look at the following link. It explains the cameras and mechanisms that the Kinect contains and its workings in general.

Inside Kinect link to main article

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Kinect cameras watch for autism - New Scientist

Diagnosing an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young children is tricky, but the earlier a child can begin speech therapy and get help learning social and communication skills, the better. Many different symptoms may suggest a child has an ASD, but they are subtle. It usually takes an experienced doctor to spot the signs by analysing video footage of the child playing - a costly and time-consuming process.

To find out if a computer can automate all or part of this process, Guillermo Sapiro, Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos and colleagues have fitted the nursery with five Kinect depth-sensing camera rigs to monitor groups of around 10 children aged between 3 and 5 years old as they play.

Click here for more information from original article

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Xbox Kinect in healthcare - a winning combination

Already a popular fitness tool, the Xbox Kinect is now being integrated into the healthcare industry and could modernise patient-doctor communications

Games consoles like the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect have revolutionised at-home fitness, filtering into the exercise industry with their hugely popular workout games. Although they have proved a hit with tech-savvy consumers, there are hopes such technology could find a day-to-day use in the healthcare industry. Microsoft Research is one of the teams facilitating the integration of gaming technology into the healthcare industry and the Xbox Kinect is one of the main tools in its arsenal.

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Kinect Range of Motion Testing

This video demonstrates the potential of the Kinect camera to map and report range of movement. Initial thoughts are obviously that it is impressive, but I would be interested to see how well it picks up the main skeletal points of a patient with known movement limitations, contractures and/or physical deformities. Current experience would suggest to me that it would get confused and not be able to accurately identify all the necessary points to provide the range of movements that the video shows. The conclusion at this time would have to be that this has huge potential within musculoskeletal rehabilitation but has yet to prove itself or be demonstrated within areas such as neuro rehab. Time will tell but this video demonstrates impressive abilities and measurements of normal human movement.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Kinect Effect

Microsoft are keen to promote the Kinects application within healthcare. The following website explains more!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Xbox Kinect helps stroke patients recover.

By Laura McCardle

August 30, 2011

A state-of-the-art games console is being used to help patients regain mobility and balance after suffering a brain injury.

For the last six weeks Niamh Cronin, a clinical engineering student, has been using the innovative treatment as part of a project with occupational therapists on the Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH).

Fundraising by the hospital’s League of Friends helped the unit to buy an Xbox Kinect, a hands-free games console which is operated by sensors that detect players’ movements rather than using controls.
The unit already uses a Nintendo Wii console but patients with severe impairments found it hard to use because it is controlled by a hand-held wand.

Click for more info