Last year we wrote about the children’s cancer clinic Alex’s Place at The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center as it was using Kinect to “help reinforce patients’ mind-body connection with engaging play and entertainment, as well as to potentially reduce their fear of technology and the treatments they face”. Now, we see more and more hospitals, both in Europe and in America, using Kinect as a way of helping patients.

The video above shows Woodland Wiggle, “an interactive game displayed on a television the size of a room”, at the Royal London Hospital.

It allows children to enter into a storybook illustrated world enabling them to paint; play music; and trigger sun, rain, snow and rainbows weather effects with animated animal characters across a number of woodland scenes [...] It is designed to provide healing spaces for young patients far away from the usual hospital ward sterility.

Working in close consultation with clinical teams at the hospital, and following a series of workshops with physiotherapists and occupational therapists, I was able to determine a range of movements that would give children the best health benefits which strongly influenced the format and design of the games created.

The installation had to work with a wide range of abilities, from wheelchair users, visually impaired, to bed bound children, so simple movement filtering allows for triggering of music & paint with just a wave of the hands.

Another hospital that is using Kinect is Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. This time, the aim is to eliminate pain in young patients by using video games.

It distracts kids from pain but also provides a data collection tool that will allow therapists to move away from subjective assessments of how a kid is progressing by taking quantitative measurements while the kids play.

-  Jennifer Stinebiser, hospital spokeswoman

You might have one or two measurements on a joint in traditional physical therapy. Now we can get every second that a patient is moving. We can compare second to second to second to second. We can get thousands and thousands of data points to measure how a patient is improving.

Until now, it has been impossible to quantitatively measure and monitor chronic pain in children … This is one of the largest advancements in pain medicine in the last several years.

- Sarah Rebstock,  Head of the hospital’s Pain Medicine Program

It’s great to see that hospitals can improve the well-being of their young patients with the use of Kinect. It looks like Kinect is really changing the way doctors approach treatments.

Source: Cris O'shea, Mercury News, Mashable,