While the Kinect accessory might have been designed for gaming in mind, many other industries, such as the medical industry, have found use for it. Well in the latest development, Microsoft has recent posted on its Health Blog that they believe that the Kinect could find a use in helping patients with Parkinson’s.
While the Kinect will not be curing Parkinson’s, it can be used to facilitate telemedicine which is basically a form of home care where patients can receive instructions from their doctors while even at home. While there is equipment available for telemedicine, they tend to be pretty expensive, but with the Kinect designed to be a consumer product, its affordability will allow telemedicine to reach a wider audience.
So to help patients with Parkinson’s, doctors will ask patients to perform tests and therapy at home, such as tapping fingers and tapping their feet as fine motor tests that can then be analyzed by the Kinect’s sensor. Given that the Kinect has a camera, it will also allow for video conferences with other specialists from different parts of the world.
According to Microsoft, “In the future we see additional functionality being added. We are now in the process of looking into gamification and using this both as a way to make rehabilitation more fun and to involve the patients’ relatives in the rehabilitation.”