Microsoft Kinect in healthcare

Microsoft Kinect has transformed the way people interact with technology. The combination of the camera, the depth sensor and the microphone enable new applications and functionalities such as 3D motion capture or speech recognition. New applications are emerging.

In the medical field, kinect sensor offers great possibilities to the treatment and prevention of disease, illness or injury. Most of applications in the medical field, specially in eHealth (healthcare through the use of technology), use the kinect for tracking patient’s movements in order to perform rehabilitation or patient’s monitoring.

Physical Theraphy and Rehabilitation

Red Hill Studios from University of California is researching about how Kinect can be implemented to help people with Parkinson’s disease. They have developed specialized games to improve the gaith and balance of people with functional impairments and diseases.

Home Training System for Rehab Patients (HTSRP) motions and captures the physical exercises of the patient using a Kinect. It presents a 3D version of the person, analyzes the movements  to pre-detect if physical exercises are performed right or wrong and gives visual feedback on the screen. Jintronix, like HTRSP and other companies, performs rehabilitation in a virtual environment.

Telemedicine

Medicine and diagnose can be performed remotely for people who lives a long way from the hospital. A few months ago Microsoft launched InAVate, a platform which allows group therapy session using avatars.

Collaboration and Annotation of Medical Images (CAMI) of University of Arcasas uses Microsoft Kinect to capture the data, which can be checked on a Windows device such as a tablet, phone or computer.

University of South Florida developed a Robotic Telemedicine System using the kinect sensor for mapping the environment and plan a path and trajectory. The telemedicine platform also provides video communications for doctor-patient communication through the camera and microphone’s kinect.

Remote patient monitoring

Remote patient monitoring and telehealth are used in chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetics or asthma. Cognitiont’s Global Technology is a remote health monitoring solution for multiple sclerosis physiotherapy at home.

Medical applications

Microsoft Kinect is also used as a hands free tool to control medical imaging equipment. Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital uses Kinect to move and zoom X-Ray and MRI without touching the screen and leaving the sterile area, which is very useful for surgeons and interventional radiologist. Getstix also has developed a touchless gestural interface for the surgeons and interventional radiologists.

Researchers from University of Konstanz have made a step forward with NAVI system. They use the Kinect camera and depth sensor with a laptop, a vibrating bell and a bluetooth headset to avoid obstacles for blind people.

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