Kinect in rehabilitation
Using Kinect games in Physical Therapy and rehabilitation
Updated May 2022. Microsoft is developing a new camera called "Kinect for Azure". It is still in the developing stage. Hopefully it will be here soon!
There are several advantages with using Kinect apps or games in rehabilitation, as in the process of stroke recovery or as a tool in regular physical therapy. One is that you don't need to hold a control or press a lot of buttons. Which really could be a hazzle if you have a weak hand after a stroke or are suffering from pain or tremor. Another good thing may be that doing motions in air can be a lot easier and save your joints from unnecessary strain which could make it easier to get some exercise done when joints are aching.
Important aspects when choosing games for stroke rehabilitation and other brain injuries
Important aspects when choosing video or computer games to use in rehabilitation is of course to find games that suit the particular movements the person can perform and need to practice, but also, and this may be equally important, to find games that are "mentally" suitable, or suitable for the mind.
People with neurological traumas or diseases, like stroke or TBI, may often be prone to cognitive fatigue. That may also be the case in several stress-related conditions. It may be desirable to choose games that have less intense visual and audio stimuli in their design.
(The Country Ramble Games and Wall Ball are designed to be less stressful in their visual design and choise of music and sounds.)
Can you play Kinect games from a wheelchair? Yes, you can. And from any other ordinary chair too. The deciding factor is if there is movement enough for the Kinect to distinguish a human body in the chair. (For example, it' s easier if you don't cross your arms or keep arms and legs very tight close to your body or together.)
The Country Ramble Games and Wall Ball for Kinect, both have seated modes versions in them.
Astronaut Journey also has an easy mode but are generally a more exhausting and demanding game and also add more cognitive stress.
Image on the right: Playing Country Ramble Kinect game from wheelchair in seated mode.
In this game you can move forward using both feet or legs, or just one foot/leg.
Video to the right: Play Kinect games from wheelchair
The Kinect for Xbox One have far better abilities to separate persons from the surroundings than the old Kinect 360 version.
In this video Kinect for Xbox One and a wheelchair is used.
As depicted in the video, Kinect has no problem 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.
Video to the right: Using Kinect in Physical Therapy 1
In the video 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 a physiotherapy or as part of exercise activities that you can do in your home.
In Country Ramble Games you choose to play with either the right or left hand, this can be a good way to avoid compensatory movements in stroke rehabilitation. (You can only use one hand at a time.)
Video to the right: Using Kinect in Physical Therapy 2
This video demonstrates how to increase muscle training by using ankle or wrist weights.
See Country Ramble Games on Windows Store