Video Game Technology Aids in Physical Therapy

Motion-based technology has been shown to aid physical therapists, clinicians, and athletic trainers in analyzing movement, although it is often incredibly expensive. Some motion-based laboratories can cost upwards of $100,000. Researchers from the University of Missouri have recently set out to bypass that financial burden by substituting these labs with alternate methods, which include the use of video game.

The research team recently discovered that the depth cameras used by video game systems can provide health care providers with objective information to improve patient care. According to Trent Guess, associate professor of physical therapy and orthopedics, the team has discovered through testing of a system called Reflexion “can provide reasonable measurement of hip and knee angles.”

“This means that for only a few hundred dollars, this technology may be able to provide clinics and physical therapists with sufficient information on the lower limbs to assess functional movement.”

 

The research team used a video game system’s depth camera to capture movement from participants doing drop vertical jumps and lateral leg raises. The movements were measured using traditional motion-capture technology as well. This method involved placing markets on their skin. The tests showed that the systems produced similar results.

“If a patient is trying to move their hip to the right, but they twist their hip, the system will provide feedback on the screen, telling them how to perform the exercise correctly,” said Colleen Michelle Jones in a Jacksonville Business Journal article titled, Brooks Rehab Bringing Microsoft Technology for Physical Therapy into Patients’ Homes. “It picks up the nuances that are really important to a physical therapist.”

These findings were the result of a collaboration started by Aaron Gray, a sports medicine physician. Interest in easily accessible technology led Gray to research less costly yet efficient methods for helping athletes avoid issues such as knee injuries. Through the collaboration with Guess and other researchers, he tested the idea.

“Assessment of movement is essential to evaluating injury risk, rehabilitative outcomes, and sport performance,” said Gray. “Our research team is working to bring motion analysis testing, which is expensive and time-consuming, into orthopedics offices, physical therapy clinics, and athletic facilities using inexpensive and portable technology. Our research has shown that depth camera sensors from video games provide a valid option for motion assessment.”

The technology can also aid patients suffering from cerebral palsy, the most common pediatric physical disability. Cerebral palsy is caused by early damage to the motor centres of the developing brain, and it limits physical activity. In addition to surgical procedures and pharmaceutical management, treatment includes a significant amount of neurodevelopment therapy and rehabilitation. This new system can provide the same benefits more easily and at a fraction of the cost.

 

“New studies from researchers at the University of Missouri provide evidence
that inexpensive video game technology can help health care providers discover injury risk and track rehabilitation progress among athletes and physical therapy patients.”

 

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Canada should ease foreign ownership rules for uranium, says Sask premier
  • Could the Future of Energy be Entirely Renewable?
  • Zinc-air battery shows great promise in search for energy storage
  • SpaceX "first orbital class rocket capable of reflight" test flight today: $12 billion in contracts and a 100 missions at stake: live feed of launch
  • Canada's energy sector "at a crossroads," risks falling behind
  • Aerospace industry fuelled by emerging markets: BMO
  • Ford’s 347 kph GT: World's fastest supercar a testbed for new automotive technology
  • UPS Canada implementing 50 per cent alternative fuels in fleet by 2018
  • Wind to provide 20 per cent of world's electricity by 2030: report
  • Pilot project will use algae to recycle industrial CO2 emissions
  • Armoured vehicles an important niche in Ontario's auto industry
  • Aerospace is to Quebec what auto industry is to Ontario, and must be supported: Couillard
  • Colossal Fusion Project Set to Transform the Energy Industry
  • Moon Race 2: Nasa plans moon lander for 2024; Orion Spacecraft already complete
  • Twenty-kilometre tower would revolutionize space launches
  • TransCanada will use railroads if Keystone pipeline not approved
  • Gold miners expand production in Nunavut, estimated reserves in BC
  • Relief as Ontario company rescues closing Heinz plant
  • Airline debacle highlights need for businesses to be tech smart
  • More positive outlook for economy as March sales rebound
Scroll to Top