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Physical Rehab Device Built From Wii Balance Boards

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the walk-and-play dept.

Input Devices 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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30 comments

Or Just Ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885238)

BigDog [youtube.com].

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Looks like it took 4 years to start a company... (3, Insightful)

nomel (244635) | about 3 years ago | (#35885292)

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

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

Re:Looks like it took 4 years to start a company.. (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#35885380)

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.

Re:Looks like it took 4 years to start a company.. (1)

TerranFury (726743) | about 3 years ago | (#35885424)

nurses giving blow jobs to ED patients

Citation needed.

No, really. Has this actually happened?

Re:Looks like it took 4 years to start a company.. (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#35885470)

I think I saw it demonstrated in a movie starring Ron Jeremy.

Re:Looks like it took 4 years to start a company.. (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#35893028)

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.

Re:Looks like it took 4 years to start a company.. (1)

thatotherguy007 (1021257) | about 3 years ago | (#35899340)

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.

Don't mind me, I'm low on karma (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#35885396)

"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

is this slashdot ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885432)

wow.. wake up !
and cut the crap subjects.
Wii balance boards..
what REAL nerd would care about that ?

More and more random threads.
I have to skip so many it's a shame. /. will end up like Wired.

Re:is this slashdot ?? (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 3 years ago | (#35886486)

DIAF this is interesting.

so much of that childhood disability stuff is boring and painful. even a dreamcast would be an improvement if it could be worked in to the physio regimen.

QWOP (1)

splerdu (187709) | about 3 years ago | (#35885514)

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

Mother Nature called, She claims Prior Art. (2)

gadget junkie (618542) | about 3 years ago | (#35885550)

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.

Awesome! (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 years ago | (#35885618)

Now I can design a "medical device" using a $100 Wii and sell it to insurance companies for $12,000.

Cha-CHING!

Re:Awesome! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885772)

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.

Re:Awesome! (2)

Torodung (31985) | about 3 years ago | (#35889136)

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

Nothing new (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885704)

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. www.motekmedical.com

Just heard about this at University of Utah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886064)

This is ironic - not 10 minutes ago, a co-worker was telling me that her rehab doctor had a Wii Balance board in her office to help perform rehab. Apparently, many people have the same good idea. This wasn't for children, but adults.

http://www.fullmalls.com (0)

xiaojiekytt (2053178) | about 3 years ago | (#35887530)

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Rice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35888620)

I got accepted to Rice. I wanted to go there, but it cost $50,000 a year, and they didn't give me any scholarships or financial aid. No thanks.

Bookmark this story (3, Interesting)

Torodung (31985) | about 3 years ago | (#35889124)

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.

Re:Bookmark this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35892430)

+1 Corny

Physical Rehab Device Built From Wii Balance Board (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35890074)

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To the "Old News" people: (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 3 years ago | (#35890592)

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 exact quote from this project's intro is as follows: "Balance measuring systems exist in both the medical and home entertainment markets but none are tuned to the special needs of children with impaired balance control. These systems cost $25,000 to $95,000 US and patients must be able to stand and or walk without balance aides such as crutches or a walker. This does not match the patient population targeted for this project." As you'll notice, the stress here is not on the forceplate design, but on the price and the current restrictions for use (no crutches allowed). The unique features of Drew's, Matt's, and Michelle's device are not in the force plate, but in the cheap price (about $500) and the innovative handrail design, which allows kids to actually turn physical therapy into a game instead of torturous work. So rail all you want about "this is nothing new!" We know it's nothing new - that was never the point. But when you take an existing technology and reduce its price by at least 98%, and make it entertaining for kids to use along the way, that's DEFINITELY something to rave about. Take your hating elsewhere!

Re:To the "Old News" people: (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 3 years ago | (#35892804)

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.

Instead of Participant Interviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35893446)

a WORKING demo would help.

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