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 wiihabilitation.co.uk 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: http://www.virtual-reality-rehabilitation.com/products/seeme/what-is-seeme 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 – http://projects.ict.usc.edu/mxr/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 – http://scratch.mit.edu/ 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 http://www.projectmapr.com/

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.