Microsoft Kinect: A Revolutionary Technology searching for a niche in healthcare

Remember “Superhuman Samurai”, a 1994 TV series?? Sam Collins who's the leader of a rock band becomes a victim of a sudden energy surge and becomes a character in one of his (self- programmed) game named "Servo". Microsoft Kinect is a technology which could do something similar by capturing your movements in the virtual world. {FYI: Shahrukh’s recent movie RA-ONE, picked the concept from Superhuman Samurai }.

Microsoft Kinect comes with motion sensor, skeletal-tracking, voice recognition and facial-recognition capabilities. It sounds fascinating, when you hear that your body movements can be captured as it is in the digital world. Microsoft Kinect Camera originally released in November 2010 as a new addition to Microsoft's Xbox 360 product line, is slowly finding its use in the healthcare world.

Siemens recently launched a concept product for hands-free navigation through CT/MRI/Ultrasound images utilizing Microsoft’s Kinect for detection of hand gestures which is potentially useful in operating rooms. Two computer science students from the University of Pennsylvania, Eric Berdinis and Jeff Kiske, came up with a tactile feedback system for the visually impaired using Microsoft Kinect.

Another system being developed by a team of researchers from the University of Missouri to detect and prevent elderly falls uses security system motion sensors and the Kinect to produce 3D silhouettes of residents, which can then be monitored for falls. In addition to detecting falls, the system can also help prevent falls altogether by picking up on changes in a resident’s gait which might suggest an elevated risk of falling, and automatically alerts nurses when intervention is required.

What can be other potential uses of this technology, time will tell us. But for now, Microsoft has started Kinect Accelerator incubation program to give a boost to the use of this technology in allied fields other than gaming.

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