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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jul 3 2011   4:16PM GMT

Microsoft Kinect and its official push for health care

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Kinect, mHealth applications, Microsoft

It’s pretty clear that Microsoft is actively pushing Kinect in the health care space. Even during the absence of the official SDK (software development kit) for business applications, many have managed to use the widely-available, “unofficial” drivers to develop prototype applications that had a bigger “wow” factor.

But at long last, the wait is over. With the official release of the SDK and the push for the development of medical applications for therapy centers, surgical rooms and doctor’s offices, we are likely to see more of Kinect in the health care market, challenging the way we interact and interface with medical tools and applications.

So far, we have seen many real life examples of how Kinect is helping to connect the market, pun intended, with tangible benefits. The prospect of controlling PCs with physical gestures, on top of the existing voice commands, will add considerable value and I envision will most likely be welcomed by many. Let’s take the example of the operating room, where surgeons can navigate through digital images such as CTs, x-rays and other records without the need to touch a keyboard and get desterilized. This saves significant time for many surgeons in the operating theaters.

Another application identified to be one of the most useful concepts would be in the physical therapy. Whether it is a computer directed therapy session, or simply monitoring and measuring the progress patients are making.

Some Universities are even attempting to push the boundaries and have Kinect become an active part of surgeries performed by robots. In this model, they will attempt to utilize the technology to map out the human body and be able to use that as a frame of reference — the robots will literally “see” what it is doing and detect organs and objects with which the robot may come in contact.

It’s clear that in the next year or so, Kinect will most likely be one of the key players at the big HIT conferences such as HIMSS and other CIO conferences. Vendors will showcase how some of their products can be used with this affordable and wireless controller in the health care environment.

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