The City University London and The Stroke Association are developing motion-sensor technologies to help stroke victims communicate using the Nintendo Wii and Apple iPad.
Two groups in the United Kingdom,
City University London and
The Stroke Association
advocacy group, are testing computer-based technology running on the Nintendo
Wii and Apple iPad to allow stroke victims suffering from the aphasia language
impediment to communicate using gestures.
The project is called Gesture Recognition in Aphasia Therapy (GReAT) and
will run for 18 months, according to City University London. The parties will
test the prototype in the London
area via 30 of The Stroke Association's Stroke Clubs.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), a U.K.
government agency for funding research, is contributing financial support for
"Gesture tracking and recognition technologies are becoming a
ubiquitous part of new computing and gaming environments, ranging from Apple's
touch-screen iPad through the handheld Nintendo Wii Remote to Microsoft's
forthcoming Kinect for the Xbox 360, which will track users' movements without
the need for a handheld controller," Stephanie Wilson, senior lecturer in
HCID at City University London, said in a statement.
"Whilst popular in gaming, we will evaluate the suitability of such
technologies in aphasia rehabilitation," Wilson
London and The Stroke Association
both announced the new project on Aug. 19.
Computer-based therapy has been proven to rehabilitate verbal skills, and
this is the first breakthrough for such gestures, according to Jane Marshall,
professor of aphasiology at City University London.
"With 45,000 new cases in the U.K.
each year, we hope that our work will help a wider range of aphasic people to
regain communication skills," Marshall
said in a statement.
Dr. Sharlin Ahmed, research liaison officer at The Stroke Association, added
that communication problems are the most frustrating for stroke survivors.
Ahmed noted that 150,000 people have a stroke in the U.K.
About half of the people who suffer from aphasia temporarily
do recover completely and quickly, reports Aphasia Now.
An estimated 250,000 people in the U.K.
suffer from permanent aphasia.
Stroke survivors often have limited spoken or written output, and learn how
to gesture independently at home.
Patients taking part in the project will practice gesturing, have access to
immediate feedback and develop mastery of the movements through repetition.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.