By Jonathan Charles | Aug 18, 2012 09:58 AM EDT
While the Kinect gaming console has sold over 10 million units, its software is used for practical purposes in the real world. The latest real-world use for Kinect is remote tracking of stroke victims in recovery.
CNN reported that researchers at the University of Southampton in the UK developed the technology and used it in the real world. It enables patients in their own homes to get remote guidance through therapeutic exercises, while the Kinect technology tracks their hand and finger movements.
"It widens our opportunities to make rehabilitation to people in their homes," Cheryl Metcalf -- a Biomechanics lecturer at Southampton -- said. "The whole tele-medicine idea opens up so many different avenues to be able to look and measure progress objectively."
The prototype is currently in testing. Apparently, Microsoft is supportive of the technology; it recent released the Software Development Kit for Kinect, and downloads broke the "hundreds of thousands" mark, Microsoft revealed.
Other medical use of the Kinect technology includes the ability for surgeons to rotate images through Kinect, called "Touchless Interaction in Medical Imaging". The software is even used to perform surgery.
"It's really good for demonstration because it's so low-cost, and because it's really accessible. You already have drivers, and you can just go in there and grab the data. It's really easy to do fast prototyping because Microsoft's already built everything," electrical engineer student graduate Frank Ryden said to gaming site Kotaku. He developed the software allowing Kinect to map a patient's body.
The problem with Kinect-assisted surgery is the lack of tactile feedback. Controller force feedback (vibration) could remedy the issue, but it could take "some five years or so" before the technology is available.
"They've all been extremely excited to be able to have hands-on manipulation of imaging data that they are so reliant on, particularly with the push towards minimally invasive surgery," Helena Mentis -- a member of the Microsoft Research Team based in the UK's Cambridge -- claimed.
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