Kinect in Physical Therapy

Do you want to use Kinect games in a project or in research and have questions? You're welcome to Contact Mixxus Studio

Using Kinect games in Physical Therapy

Read about the need for updating drivers after 2019.

Using Kinect in Physical Therapy as a complementary tool may be an efficient way to add extra time and depth to treatment in an inexpensive way. (With a computer, a Kinect sensor and an adapter cable and some games or apps.) It can be helpful for staff at hospitals, physical therapy clinics, nursing homes, retirement communities and in private homes.  Kinect games can be played from a wheelchair or an ordinary chair. (The sensor can recognize a seated person provided that the person can move enough so that the arms, legs and head are distinguished.) 

Read more on important aspects when choosing games under "Kinect in rehabilitation" 

Movements used in games

Country Ramble Games

In play you lift your feet up and down to move forward on the road. It is possible to use only one foot if necessary. 

For picking, choosing or aiming at items, you use one hand. In start you choose to play either with your right or left hand.  For stroke rehabilitation, this can be a good way to accomplish so called constraint-induced therapy, that is, if you want to restrict the use of the strong hand to make sure all effort are focused on practicing and using the affected hand.

At the end of the game, both hand can be used to restart, quit or choose another game.

The game can be played standing or in seated mode.

In Country Ramble's BubbleWalk you get a result plot, in PokerWalk and BingoWalk, results for each individual are presented in tables

Wall Ball

In play you use your feet to kick the ball against a wall. You can of course use only one foot, though it may be a bit harder.  

No hands are used in play. You can restart or quit by putting either foot in a box.

The game can be played standing or in seated mode.

Results for each individual are presented in a table

To Kinect Games

More on using Kinect in rehabilitation

The Country Ramble Games and Wall Ball for Kinect, both have seated modes versions in them.

Using Ankle and Wrist Weights

Playing video games like Kinect or Wii can be a good way to get exercise with both sweat and raising of the pulse. Performing movements in empty space as you do when playing a computer or video motion game, can also be a relief for aching joints. 

But if you feel it's too easy and would like a more realistic resistance to give your muscles that extra workout, using weights in forms of  ankle weights and wrist weights is a superb way to increase the intensity of the exercise from gaming. Adding force and physical resistance from the weights can also heighten the game experience and create a more realistic feeling. It's a kind of an effect similar to the force feedback that you can get from joysticks and game controllers, creating a haptic or tactile sensation, a sense of touch.

(Just don't grab a too large or clumsy weight that may obscure your movements.)

Get it from Microsoft

In the Video above, Kinect for Xbox One and a wheelchair is used when playing Country Ramble Games in seated mode. This can be useful in both a clinical environment and at home as part of physiotherapy or as part of exercise activities that you can do in your home. 

In Country Ramble Games  you can move forward using both feet or legs, or just one foot/leg. You choose to play with either the right or left hand, this can be a good way to avoid compensatory movements in stroke rehabilitation, as in constraint-induced therapy. (You can only use one hand at a time.) 

Try the free Demo for Country Ramble Games on Windows Store

Link for Windows 10 users

Link for Windows 8.1 users

Get it from Microsoft

The Kinect for Xbox One have far better abilities to separate persons from the surroundings than the old Kinect 360 version.

See Wall Ball for Kinect on Windows Store

Link for Windows 10 users

Link for Windows 8.1 users

Get it from Microsoft

Video above demonstrates the use of wrist and ankle weights in Kinect game play

In this video Kinect for Xbox One and a wheelchair is used.

Kinect can distinguish the person from the wheelchair. The sensor follows motions in arms and legs and wiggling of the torso and head. Of course, if the person has more pronounced problems with mobility then Kinect may have trouble detecting the person altogether, but that also happens in standing mode, if one is standing absolutely still or arms and legs are kept tight close next to the body.

Simply put, the camera needs to detect the shape of a human, arms, legs and a head with slight movements and distinguish that from the background. If you are unsure how the camera would work for you and your environment, just test. 

Under development:

 Body Movement Measurements with Kinect