Belinda Lange, Skip Rizzo, Tamar Weiss: “Microsoft Kinect/Primesense Sensing Systems for Virtual Rehabilitation”

June 27, 2011 | Zurich, Switzerland

Speaker: Belinda Lange, Skip Rizzo, Tamar Weiss
Host: International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation 2011

One of the exciting new developments in the field of Virtual Rehabilitation involves the release of the new Xbox Kinect system by Microsoft. This revolutionary game platform uses an infrared “depth-sensing” camera (produced by an Israeli company, Primesense) to capture users’ full body movement in 3D space for interaction within game activities. This system does not require the user to hold an interface device or move on a pad as the source of interaction within the game. Instead, the user’s body is the game controller operating in 3D space and multiple users can be tracked in this fashion for both cooperative and competitive interactive activities. This technology is a significant advance over previously available 2D video capture systems. Such low cost sensing systems for tracking human movement could revolutionize how virtual rehabilitation will be done in the future. Following a stroke, brain injury or other form of neurological disorder, a patient using this system can naturally interact with game content as part of their physical, occupational and cognitive therapy and they may be more motivated to do therapy when it is embedded in a game context. An attractive feature is the fact that while the Primesense camera provides the tracking functionality for the Kinect, it will soon be available as a low-cost stand-alone USB depth-sensing camera. This option will allow homegrown developers and researchers to produce game software and content that is specifically designed to promote rehabilitation, and perhaps “exergaming” activities beyond what the Xbox console games may offer. Researchers have thus far integrated the MS Kinect/Primesense movement tracking system with custom-built rehab games and with associated software that allows it to drive any PC-based computer game by emulating standard mouse and keyboard commands, all based on the designated physical activity of the user. This will provide a new dimension for interactive rehabilitation and exergaming in many ways by opening up a multitude of existing game content for full body interaction. These advances could stand to promote healthcare research and application development that could be widely disseminated at a low cost in user’s homes. The objective of this workshop is to provide participants with an introduction to the technology and illustrate how it has thus far been applied in application development and evaluation. Participants will have an opportunity to try out the system and take part in a discussion regarding future research and clinical developments.