Thursday 21 October 2010

Hi-tech videogame glove could improve the lives of stroke victims


Prototype glove
The prototype glove could provide a low cost home-based solution

Iā€™m extremely proud that Nottingham Trent University is able to host this conference for what is such an important topic.
Professor David Brown, head of the Interactive Systems Research Group

Computer scientists have produced a hi-tech glove that works with Nintendo Wii technology for use in the rehabilitation of stroke patients. The prototype has been developed by experts at Nottingham Trent University's Interactive Systems Research Group (ISRG) and will be presented - along with over 25 other projects and debates - at the national Interactive Technologies and Games Conference, hosted by the University on October 26 and 27.

Recognised as being the largest single cause of long-term disability worldwide, more than half of surviving stroke victims will fail to regain the use of impaired upper limbs. Rehabilitation exercises help, but often the expense and location of rehabilitation centres can be prohibitive. The prototype glove that has been developed at Nottingham Trent University could provide a low cost and home-based solution.

Physical exercises for stroke rehabilitation often require patients to make repeated movements, but scientists in the ISRG have developed a method by which these movements can be tracked and used as controls for input into videogame style rehabilitation programmes.

Using the Nintendo Wii remote (Wiimote) ā€“ which is too bulky for use by most stroke patients ā€“ the team has developed a system of mounting two Wiimotes to the side of a computer monitor, which can track the movements of infra red light emitting diodes (LED's) attached to the finger tips of a patient. The system is able to recognise the 3D position of the patient's hand in space, along with the grab, release and rolling movements that they make.

Tests are now being carried out to help develop a system that works without the need to wear the glove, as well as incorporating thermal imaging devices which will be able to detect underlying injuries through changes in skin temperature

Hosted by Nottingham Trent University, the Interactive Technologies and Games Conference will focus on issues concerned with education, health and disability. Academics from the University's ISRG, School of Social Sciences and School of Science and Technology will be joined by colleagues and counterparts from research teams across the UK.

Amongst the many projects and ideas being presented, Dr Monica Whitty and Dr Garry Young from Nottingham Trent University will lead a session looking into gamers' views on real world taboos occurring in virtual and online worlds. Their colleague Professor Mark Griffiths will also deliver a presentation on social interactions in multiplayer online role-playing games.

Barbara Zambrini from London Metropolitan University will present findings from a collaborative project with Nottingham Trent University that uses Nintendo Wii technology to help train blind cricketers; whilst Jacqui Lewis from Greenhat Interactive Ltd will lead discussions on the use of mobile and game based technologies for assisting people with intellectual disabilities.

Professor David Brown from Nottingham Trent University's ISRG, said: "This conference will bring together a wide range of research projects that have been developed to find solutions for people facing challenges in education and from poor health and disability. I'm extremely proud that Nottingham Trent University is able to host this conference for what is such an important topic."

Notes to editors:

For the past 10 years, Nottingham Trent University's Interactive Systems Research Group (ISRG) has led the field in developing interactive technologies which can be used to solve and alleviate challenges for disabled people, and those with health and education difficulties.

The Interactive Technologies and Games: Education, Health and Disability Conference will take place on 26-27 October at the Nottingham Conference Centre, Nottingham Trent University. Along with the wide range of presentations and discussions taking place, a conference exhibition will also be taking place to showcase particular projects.

See full details including an agenda of all the presentations and discussions taking place at the conference.

The Wii Glove stroke rehabilitation project involves collaboration with the Queen's Medical Centre's Stroke Rehabilitation team for the validation and testing of the device, along with colleagues at the department of rehabilitation and ageing from the University of Nottingham.

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