The Nintendo Wii has proven useful in the past in different areas aside from video games and entertainment. Its motion controllers and friendly interface have made it a surprisingly effective tool for rehabilitation, and Wii Fit has managed to push people of all ages off the couch. Now, in another surprising use for Nintendo’s console, sports medicine may be benefited in one its most important areas. The treatment of sports injuries.
One of the most common injuries, especially in contact sports, are concussions which are caused by a sudden impact on the brain. These can have effects such as dizziness, loss of balance and even amnesia. Determining when someone has made a full recovery from a concussion can be a tricky process. In the US, researchers from the University of Maryland and Ohio State University are working on a system that can help in this process by using Nintendo’s Wii Fit.
By using the Wii Fit’s balance board, researchers can measure a patient’s balance, which is an important aspect in determining a complete recovery. By doing a series of yoga poses, a patient’s score is recorded when he’s completely healthy. If the patient were to suffer a concussion the patient can be tested doing the same exercises to see how well he does in comparison to his normal balance values.
Even though more tests and research are needed before determining if the system provides an accurate measure to determine someone’s health, the program has been in place for three years at Maryland. According to the researchers, athletes are very comfortable with the system because it’s friendly and fun.
This sounds like another amazing use for the Wii’s interface. Now that both Microsoft and Sony are putting out its own motion controllers, I hope that people find innovative and helpful uses for Kinect and Move. With the current debate about video games and violence, programs like this are helping the image of video games and maybe helping in changing some people’s perspectives.