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Study Finds Video Game Sensors Have Physical Therapy Applications

Posted by Brian Spence on Feb 16, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Physical TherapyAccording to the Pew Research Center, a startling 49 percent of American adults play video games. A recent scientific study discovered that these popular gaming consoles are not just great entertainment. These machines also have beneficial physical therapy applications.

University of Missouri - Columbia researchers found that Xbox Kinect 2.0 motion sensors are a suitable, cost-effective substitute for more expensive medical motion equipment used in physical therapy offices.

The Mizzou School of Health Professions, MU College of Engineering, MU Health Care, the Mizzou Motion Analysis Center, and the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute conducted the revolutionary study.

Sports medicine physician Aaron Gray is the principal investigator for the project. The doctor said he came up with the idea for the study while finishing a fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. During physical rehabilitation, therapists use motion-sensor technology to track patient responses and range of motion. The equipment, which costs $100,000, helps clinicians and athletic trainers to collect health marker data in real-time. The technology also helps doctors calculate an individual's future risk of injury.

Gray was surprised how well the Xbox Kinect 2.0 device tracked his movements. The physician believed that the Kinect could be an affordable alternative to these pricey motion sensor tools.

After coming to Mizzou, Gray collaborated on the project with Marjorie Skubic, an electrical engineering and computer science professor. The professor and her students designed motion sensor software that focused on the angle of knee motion and jumping movements. The researchers also collected information on more than 180 area middle and high school students.

The project's findings have been published in multiple publications including the Journal of Applied Biomechanics and Sports Health. Gray says that the researcher will have to consider other sensors since Microsoft announced that they were discontinuing Kinect.

If you are a physical therapist looking to make an exceptional contribution to a health care company, contact Staffing Plus to learn about new job opportunities. And, if you are interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.

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