Microsoft Kinect Helps Research How To Prevent Patient Falls

The Microsoft Kinect and Nintendo Wii are quickly proving themselves in the medical world as effective tools in prevention of patient falls.

Recently, researchers at the University of Missouri College of Engineering have been investigating changes in behavior and routines among patients at an assisted-living facility. To do this, they are using the Microsoft Kinect gaming system in an attempt to see if the device is capable of picking up such changes in patients that can predict the probability of patient falls.

Patient falls are a major safety issue at hospitals but if they can be predicted and detected immediately, the safety and care of patients can greatly improve. This new research utilizing the Microsoft Kinect offers a new way to protect and quickly treat patient falls.

Microsoft Kinect research aimed at patient safety improvement[Fierce Health IT]

The Microsoft Kinect is also getting attention from researchers at the University of Minnesota for more medical testing. After much testing on the gaming device, experimenters found a way to use the Kinect to monitor children being diagnosed with OCD and ADD. The Kinect would replace the $100,000 system already installed to do the same job but at a much higher cost.

Kinect Now Used For Medical Research, In Place Of $100,000 System[TechCrunch.com]

The Microsoft Kinect has also become a hit in operating rooms and among surgeons. The Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Canada uses the Kinect in operating rooms to pinpoint and eliminate hygiene and infection problems. The gaming device has also cut the time needed for doctors to carry out procedures because the contactless system allows them to pull up and view patient notes along with scans and x-rays. This ability keeps them from having to continuously wash and sterilize their hands during operations. The uses for the Kinect are also shown in the videos at the bottom of the link.

The Xbox Kinect in healthcare - a winning combination[Healthcare Global]

The Nintendo Wii Fit has also been the subject of studies regarding its effectiveness on whether it had the ability to test balance and equilibrium among patients. Surprisingly enough, researchers at the University of Melbourne and Singapore General Hospital's Department of Physiotherapy found that the Wii’s Balance Board is reasonably effective in testing a patient’s balance and equilibrium. In fact, the accessory was tested on 30 patients and was found to be about as accurate as the expensive force platforms normally used by doctors. Not only are current medical equipment that test equilibrium and balance very expensive, but they are also quite heavy and short in supply. The Balance Board costs approximately $99 and is much lighter.

Wii Balance Board: decent for measuring equilibrium, medical study says[Engadget.com]

Along with these motion sensor gaming devices, Doppler radars have been the focus of studies as fall detection systems in elderly patients. The radar picked up on changes in walking, bending and other body movements that could allude to a more intensified risk for patient falls. Researchers at the University of Missouri College also conducted the study on Doppler radars and found that the body motions picked up by the radar can identify a certain fall based on its movement ‘signature’.

Xbox Kinect Helps Monitor Seniors' Health[Information Week]