Here is Rachel’s introduction to the topic. The link to the trsnscript will be added below a minimum of 24 hours after the chat to allow people who can’t be there ‘live’ to contribute.
I have found myself recently talking about and thinking about the use of off-the-shelf video games in rehabilitation. I presented at the Occupational Therapy Association of California’s Annual Conference in October on clinical uses of the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect. I was surprised at how few clinicians had heard of the Xbox Kinect or even seen the camera. What is it about the Nintendo that made it so popular when it was first released? I suppose Nintendo did a good job of appealing to a large market- spanning from young children to older adults. The term “Wii-habilitation” started cropping up only a few months after the commercial release of the system. Having a chance to see the original Primsense camera and experience the Kinect at E3 prior to the release in November 2010 meant that I was primed and ready for using the Xbox Kinect in research and in clinical practice. Microsoft has a much smaller audience and tends to appeal more to hard-core gamers with the Xbox system as a whole. The Kinect allows for access by a much broader population with the inclusion of Harry Potter and Disney games but the high price of the console limits many families from incorporating it into their homes. From a rehabilitation perspective, I see the merits of using both systems in therapy. Some patients are appropriate for one system more than the other. One of the major drawbacks to the Wii is that patients have to hold the remote and push buttons while using large arm or leg movements. The balance board somewhat eliminates the need for the remote but the off-the-shelf board does not allow for the clinician to set thresholds for activation of in-game functions. The hands-free controller that is the Kinect eliminates this problem. However the Kinect has limitations as well. Most of the games require the player to be standing and/or stepping/jumping. For patients in a wheelchair, this severely limits their opportunities to use the Kinect in a rehabilitation setting. It is up to a clever clinician to make the game work for their patient with limited standing/mobility.
How do you use the Nintendo Wii and/or the Xbox Kinect in clinical practice? What games do you use? Do you incorporate traditional therapy equipment into game play? If you don’t use games, why not? What are the barriers to use (cost, time, fear of technology, reimbursement)?
Customized video games using low-cost off-the-shelf devices is one way to overcome some of the barriers to using the full off-the-shelf system in practice. For a peak at some of my work, head over to http://medvr.ict.usc.edu/projects/rehabilitation-engineering-research-center-rerc/. During the chat, I can answer questions about our research process, our customized games and the trials we are currently conducting. I look forward to hearing your questions and thoughts about our game‼