Xbox Kinects could be used in the future to assess the health of patients with conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Normally found in the hands of gamers rather than medics the Microsoft sensors could be used to assess the respiratory function of patients.
Researchers at the Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG, University of Warwick and the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) have developed a method of using the devices. The system consists of four Kinect sensors which are capable of quickly creating a 3D image of a patient’s torso. This enables physicians to measure and assess how a chest wall moves. In tests it has proven to be as accurate as a patient breathing into a spirometer - the current method used - but providing additional information about the movement of the chest, which could help in identifying numerous respiratory problems.
The project lead, Dr Chris Golby at the Institute of Digital Healthcare, said: “We have developed a low-cost prototype which provides a more comprehensive measurement of a patient’s breathing than existing methods.”
Their work is detailed in their paper Chest Wall motion Analysis in Healthy Volunteers and Adults with Cystic Fibrosis using a Novel Kinect-based Motion Tracking System which is published in Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing.