Kinect used in gamified therapy to ward off Alzheimer’s disease

Since the initial effort to bundle a Kinect with every Xbox One, the role of Kinect has lessened to being relegated as an optional add-on for the Xbox One. But that hasn’t stopped developers from coming up with new innovative and impactful uses for the Kinect, especially since Microsoft made the latest SDK available for free.

Earlier in June, WinBeta reported how Kinect can help patients recover faster at home through interactive coaching. Now the German healthcare startup RetroBrain R&D has released Memore to help the elderly ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Memore is described as a suite of games “to help improve the quality of life and cognitive function of elderly people who have or are at risk of developing dementia.” RetroBrain R&D’s approach to Memore was to translate,

“… years of evidenced-based research from leading neurologists, rehabilitation specialists, and psychological experts—some of whom are members of RetroBrain R&D’s advisory board—into real-time, second-by-second decisions embedded within the games.”

As a result Memore games use proven therapies to increase the plasticity of neurons in the brain in order to delay the effects of dementia and improve cognitive impairment. One of RetroBrain R&D’s co-founders, Manouchehr Shamsrizi, describes the advantages of using Kinect for this gamified therapy by saying:

“Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox One sensor allows for new, innovative control concepts, based on precise recognition of gestures and movements, thus creating a controller-free way of controlling video games. By using gesture-based controls, we avoid the main reason why older people often reject video games and computers: complex, tricky, and unintuitive controls.”

While Microsoft has listened to the feedback of gamers at the launch of Xbox One and unbundled Kinect from the consoles, there are still future plans for the set of sensors to enable Cortana on Xbox One when Windows 10 comes to the console and hopefully have its own set of Kinect enabled games. Until then innovative companies like Memore continue to use the sensor as a new way to deliver healthcare, which can positively impact patients’ quality of life right from their living rooms.

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