Would you ever have thought that the Kinect could be used for medical or health care reasons? If you didn’t you can’t be blamed as it was after all, developed for the Xbox in mind, which in turn is a gaming device. Microsoft on the other hand doesn’t quite see the Kinect as solely for gaming, as they have expressed interest in seeing the Kinect being used in operating rooms or doctors offices.
For example, as pictured above, patients can attend group therapy sessions without actually having to be there in person, which would allow for anonymity. Instead they would be represented by avatars which would mimic their gestures and facial expressions. Take the woman’s avatar above, who is crossing her arms with her brows furrowed, could be an indication that’s she’s uncomfortable or disinterested, which could have deeper implications medically. This could also allow patients to attend therapy sessions which they would normally would have not due to the distance they’d have to travel.
Doctors could also use the Kinect to call up patient files just by speaking the patient’s name, and scroll through the data with swipes and gestures. The swiping and gesturing, according to Microsoft’s Craig Mundie, can also be used within the operating theatre where doctors will be able to swipe and gesture to go through various records and data, like CT scans for example, without having to wait for a nurse to bring it to him, or having to click a mouse and scroll through the computer. In fact Microsoft is said to have a prototype of such a system ready.
While we won’t be seeing Kinect hitting our doctor’s offices or hospitals soon, Microsoft hopes that the possibilities that it offers up will help to lower the resistance to change, currently held by the industry.