Former video game console camera finds 2nd life in ACL injury rehab

Eric Oliver -   Print  | Email

When a patient comes into the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute to rehab from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, one of the first things they do is boot up an Xbox 360, The Missourian reports.

The patient and therapist aren't going to play video games, however, at the Columbia, Mo.-based orthopedic practice. They are going to use a motion-tracking camera the console popularized, Microsoft's Kinect.

The motion-tracking and portability of the Kinect camera allows clinicians to analyze patient movements during rehabilitation. Aaron Gray, MD, an integrated healthcare team physician at Columbia-based Missouri Athletic Department, first realized the Kinect had uses beyond just being a video game accessory.

He partnered with a Columbia-based University of Missouri professor in the computer science and computer engineering department and developed software for the Kinect to analyze patient movements. The duo later added a physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, biomechanical engineer, and a strength and conditioning coach to their team, creating the Missouri Functional Assessment Screening Team.

The system works by mounting the Kinect on a tripod. A surgeon then uses a computer to track patient movements. The system is used for one test now, but Dr. Gray and the MFAST team are developing programs they hope will expand its use. Dr. Gray is also working on incorporating other technology into the Kinect-based program.

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