At Jintronix, we use the Microsoft Kinect for Windows to capture a patient’s motions, allowing them to participate in meaningful and fun physical rehabilitation. This was not always the case. This post was written for BizSpark by Max Graham, Jintronix Public Relations Director. Jintronix is a member of the Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect.
We first began by developing our own hardware solution, and it was messy. We had two web cameras working in parallel stereoscopically, tracking an infrared LED band attached to the patient’s hand. It was not quite that simple though. We had to remove the IR filter that is built into most web cameras, then replace it with a visual light filter, so it would only track the IRLED band. Once all that was said and done, it actually worked quite well, and we were happy with the results for the most part.
Then there was the issue of trying to get that produced on a mass scale, without much capital. It was going to be a nightmare. Logistically it was going to drain all kinds of resources we just didn’t have, and would require implementing whole new infrastructure for tracking and distribution. We didn’t want to have to think about this. We are a software company, and the only reason why we built our own 3D positioning system was because nothing else on the market was good enough, or within the price point we were looking for. Queue the Kinect.
People started doing some crazy things with it, things Microsoft did not anticipate when they first released the technology on the Xbox 360. Thank you Hackers! I think you all know the rest of the story, and the happy ending is that now we have the Kinect for Windows.
It was not perfect, and we had to do a lot to make the switch, but in the end it was worth it. Now we are able to focus on what we do best, developing fun, engaging, and meaningful activities for therapist and patients. And the best part is, it is only going to get better.
The Jintronix team, photo credit: Jintronix
Did we need the Kinect? No. Could we have used our own hardware? Sure. Would we have wasted time, money, and energy on things we didn’t really want to do? Absolutely. So in the end, making the switch to the Kinect just made things simpler, and when you are part of a start up, that is a good thing.
The next Microsoft Accelerator class begins in just a few weeks. Deadline July 13 for applications.
This young company exemplifies one of the key qualities of any successful young startup - being able to pivot and move quickly when technology changes or your market moves. By focusing on their core strengths (rehab and software development) and being open they not only are will be able to get to market faster but with a better product that can scale.