Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wii Balance Board to help patients after stroke and traumatic brain injury

The Wii balance board has many uses to many people, some use it to play games, others integrate it into their daily workout routine. Now doctors are starting to wonder about it's uses outside of the living room. Recently Ross Clark, of the University of Melbourne Australia, read an article about the military using Wii technology that is sensitive enough to control robots, so he wondered if it was possible to use the Wii balance board to rehabilitate stroke victims.

He and his colleagues took apart the balance board to get a better look at what makes it work. They noticed that the technology inside the $99 balance board was on par with that of the $18,000 force platforms physiologists currently used to measure the center of pressure of a person's foot. "We found the data to be excellent. I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up," said Clark.

They have since published a paper with their findings and hope that the new data and the low price of the Wii balance board will be able to help more people. "The low price of the Wii kit is now seeing it used to assess rehabilitation after stroke, traumatic brain injuries and to examine standing balance in children who were born pre-term," he says. The low price of the board is making it possible for clinics all over the world to be able to afford technology they would otherwise miss out on.

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