Medical marvel created from Xbox

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Medical marvel created from Xbox

Modified console shows promise for stroke rehabilitation.

Engineers have modified a Microsoft Xbox games console to create a low-cost therapeutic device that assists stroke patients with hand exercises.

The team from Rutgers State University of New Jersey designed the 'virtual rehabilitation system' to combine virtual reality (computer-generated interactive visual environments in which users control actions in a lifelike way) with traditional therapy techniques.

"Virtual reality is showing significant promise in promoting faster and more complete rehabilitation, but the cost of many systems is still prohibitive for widespread deployment in outpatient clinics or patients' homes," said Grigore Burdea, Rutgers professor of electrical and computer engineering, and a noted inventor of virtual rehabilitation technology.

"While it is essential to keep pursuing breakthrough technologies that will initially be costly, it is just as important that we find ways to make innovative treatments accessible to the many patients who need them."

The low-cost hand rehabilitation system is based on the commercially available Microsoft Xbox and Essential Reality's P5 gaming glove that detects finger and wrist motions to manipulate on-screen images.

The engineers made minor modifications to the equipment and created software that delivers the two types of finger-flexing exercises needed to help recover hand functions in stroke patients.
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