The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today (12 April) announced the release of a free software platform called "KineLabs" with three rehabilitation games for elderly people and persons after stroke to have fun while enhancing their motor skills in a 3D virtual environment.
This innovation has recently won a Silver Award in the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2012: Best Innovation & Research Award. Heading the research team is rehabilitation engineering expert and an Associate Professor in the field of Biomedical Engineering Dr Raymond Tong Kai-yu, with team members Dr Fong Ching-hang, Mr Lawrence Chong Kwok-wai and Mr Nathan Lam Kim-fung.
Dr Raymond Tong conceived this out-of-the-box idea of using kinetic game sensor in stroke rehabilitation settings, where patients and elderly people are often required to repeat monotonous body movement on the way to recovery. Using a Kinect sensor which captures depth data for reforming the body skeleton and tracks down the precise movement, PolyU researchers have developed a series of fun-filled games with a local favour for upper limb and lower limb motion, such as making egg tart, cleaning the window panes of a tram, and even killing cockroaches.
The kinematic exercise games are no simple tasks for stroke patients, who are required to lift up their hands and move their upper limbs to the extent of meeting a therapist's pre-set standard. What is more, the system can capture the slightest deviation and give a report on the success rate of performing different tasks – for their own convalescence. PolyU has also several stroke patients to try the interactive games and provide feedbacks.
"This project aims at optimising this innovative technology in order to benefit the elderly and persons with motor disability after stroke for rehabilitation and improvement of their quality of life," Dr Raymond Tong said, "our system can promote healthy ageing and interactive rehabilitation training at home, hospital and elderly centres."
The basic technical requirement for playing the games is to have a Kinect sensor connected with a general PC with a TV or computer screen. Following the launch, members of the public can download a free copy of the interactive game from the dedicated webpage at URL: www.polyu.edu.hk/kinelabs.
With the support of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), the project initiated by the University's Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Centre was kicked off in 2011 with seed money provided by the "Development of Assistive Technology for Persons with Disabilities Fund".
Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering
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