Microsoft Kinect® Makes the Difference in Patient Rehabilitation

Microsoft Kinect® Makes the Difference in Patient Rehabilitation

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There is a new movement thundering through hospitals in South Korea. It all began when Microsoft Korea, in collaboration with the Korean Institute of the Disabled for Independent Living, held the “Kinect® Contest for People with Severe Disabilities” to provide people with disabilities, most of whom are wheelchair-bound, with the opportunity to use the Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor to enjoy sports games they had never thought to be able to play.

Since then, this initiative has begun to make inroads into hospitals as well. On 22 and 23 December 2011 the Korea Citizenship team, in partnership with social workers from two of the biggest hospitals in South Korea, organized a Kinect-themed event, which was open to patients within the rehabilitation wards in these two hospitals. Approximately 60 patients participated and had the opportunity to experience Kinect-themed games. This initiative is significant, as it dispels the notion that technological accessibility cannot play a part in a patient’s rehabilitation process. 

According to the social workers that were present, the inception of technology during the rehabilitation process of patients actually motivated them to overcome their diseases, as it gave them an opportunity not to dwell on their current situation, which in turn offered them hope for the future.

On a global scale, Kinect has been used in hospitals as a therapeutic tool to aid medical rehabilitation. In Korea, there will be ongoing efforts to organize similar Kinect-themed events and there are hopes of expanding this initiative to nationally recognized events such as the National Disabled Day in April.

“Physical therapists have reported that they are currently using Kinect as a therapeutic tool in hospitals, and Kinect has been an invaluable tool for the patients in rehabilitation,” said Ms Hoon Hee Park, Rehabilitation Ward Social Worker, Shinchon Severance Hospital.

Korean Citizenship team and social workers helping out at the hospital
The Korean Citizenship team and social workers helping out at the hospital.

A young patient trying her hand out at the Kinect game with the help of a social worker
A young patient trying her hand out at the Kinect game with the help of a social worker.

“Physical therapists have reported that they are currently using Kinect as a therapeutic tool in hospitals, and Kinect has been an invaluable tool for the patients in rehabilitation.”
-  Ms Hoon Hee Park, Rehabilitation Ward Social Worker, Shinchon Severance Hospital
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  • What games are you playing?  What system are you using?  I am trying to use this system with my wheelchair bound son and it doesn't like that he is sitting down.  We are in the US.  Good work Korean team.

    Ed

  • I would like to know which games you are using as well. I am trying to utilize the kinect with my rehabilitation patients but am having difficulty finding games that will work with the wheelchair bound.

  • Thank you for your requests for more information about which Kinect games would be usable by players in wheelchairs. Please see a recent post that lists several games that you might like to try: blogs.technet.com/.../kinect-for-xbox-360-is-for-everybody.aspx