Before the Kinect, the Nintendo Wii made gaming more accessible to a wider range of people. From toddlers to grandparents, suddenly the idea of playing video games became more plausible. Microsoft took the concept of gaming to a whole new level with the Kinect, though, as the motion-sensing device opened up more possibilities than ever. First announced in 2009, 18 million units of the Kinect had been sold as off January 2012.
But gaming for pleasure is not the only thing the Kinect can be used for. Ask the United States military, which is not exactly known to shy away from building upon existing technology.
The Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center, together with Microsoft, has come up with a system featuring the Kinect. The goal is to use the setup to help veterans who are in need of physical therapy.
Sure, military personnel are known to be some of the toughest and fittest people there are, but after active tours of duty, injury is not uncommon. This is where the Kinect comes into the picture – to put the sensors to good use by monitoring specific points in the body and working in sync with software that is geared towards physical therapy.
Price and accessibility
The reason for the interest in the Kinect to be used for this purpose is the fact that the device is very accessible. There is no need for special setups – except perhaps for the software. There is also the fact that the gadget is relatively affordable at a couple of hundred dollars.
This means that veterans who may not have access to military facilities nearby can work on their rehabilitation program right in the comforts of their home.
Physical therapy is not the only real-world application the Kinect can be used for. Microsoft is already open to the idea that the commercial sector can use the device for other types of therapy, including sessions for sufferers of PTSD. Indeed, practically any application that can make use of avatars can benefit from the gaming device.
Better uses? Arguably yes.