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Input Devices Medicine Wii Games

Physical Rehab Device Built From Wii Balance Boards 30

An anonymous reader writes "Some students at Rice University were recently asked by Shriner's Hospital to build a rehabilitation tool that makes learning to walk entertaining and engaging. Teaching children with spina bifida, or cerebral palsy can be challenging but the game/balance board walkway helps the children develop their motor skills while giving them incentive to keep at it. It's a really cool application of game technology that actually helps people."
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Physical Rehab Device Built From Wii Balance Boards

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  • by nomel ( 244635 ) <turd.inorbit@com> on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @04:59PM (#35885292) Homepage Journal

    Finally, as predicted [] by an insightful DeathKoil 4 years ago.

    I've been waiting FOUR YEARS to post this damn message.

    • Nicely pegged. But as other discussions like this have shown, insurance companies are unwilling to pay for (cheaper) game systems if, by chance, it resulted in having fun or could be used for other purposes. This is why other video game systems have been rejected for medical purposes and nurses giving blow jobs to ED patients as well.

    • Doesn't bode well for Slashdot moderation's insight though... he only got a Score: 2, lol. So much for the foresight of crowd sourcing.

    • Here I was thinking that the wii balance board was designed as a souped-up version of a physical therapy device. Physical therapists have used simple balance boards for decades. It shouldn't take four years, people. Props to the Shriners for getting stuff done.
  • "Some students at Rice University were recently asked by Shriner's Hospital to build a rehabilitation tool that makes learning to walk entertaining and engaging."

    So, Nintendo is going to teach kids how to walk their way. This is the most evil thing I've ever seen a corporation do! I bet the government's behind this. :D

  • For those interested instead in a tool that makes learning to walk awkward and frustrating, there's always QWOP []

  • I love the job they've done. I have two kids, and I feel for those kids. What I find distressing is that society always seems amazed when you use game formats as a teaching aid. Nature built us that way; pups, not only our own, get rewarded for imitating gestures and abilities they'll need later in life, and they enjoy it too. Personally I am amazed that games aren't used more often, even in adult training. I can say that here in Italy is almost unheard of.
  • Now I can design a "medical device" using a $100 Wii and sell it to insurance companies for $12,000.


    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      By the time you finish with all the certifications, verifications, classifications, insurance, qualification, etc. then you will have to charge $12,000 and be lucky to sell enough to break even.

      And that's if you don't get sued if one malfunctions.

    • by Torodung ( 31985 )

      Which will leave you with less profit due to legal encumbrances. The only people saying "Cha-CHING!" are lawyers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Motek Medical in Amsterdam has been doing this for year already, both with the Wii and with much more accurate hardware such as medical forceplates. Their systems are used for clinical research and rehabilitation, particularly balance training for lower limb amputees, in hospitals around the world.

  • Bookmark this story (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Torodung ( 31985 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @12:24AM (#35889124) Journal

    Bookmark this story, folks. Any time you hear someone talking about "innovation," this is what actual innovation looks like. Both Nintendo, for inventing new forms of input devs, and the enterprising people that found a use for that input device that was not indicated by its makers.

    Innovation is simple. Turning off one's preconceptions to get to that point is hard. Turning off the usual legal battles that generally inhibit it, even harder.

  • Hey folks, I'm a senior Mechanical Engineer at Rice, and actually good friends with the people who've spent a year on this project. Nobody involved or even acquainted with this project expected it to be groundbreaking, cutting-edge technology. As a couple posters have already stated, medical forceplates are already accepted devices in many hospitals. When we were selecting our senior design projects back in September, we were given a 1-page intro to the background and expectations for each project. An ex
    • Don't let all the negative comments bug you, it is people that just wish they had done it instead. You get these types of comments all the time whenever something interesting hits the front page.

      Good work, we need more engineers like you.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter