Feeds

Boffins turn to Wii tech for speech-loss therapy

Communicate again, using gestures

Application security programs and practises

Researchers at London's City University are to try out motion control gaming hardware - Nintendo's Wii Remote, Microsoft's Kinect and Sony's PlayStation Move - to see if the technology can help stroke victims cheaply and easily regain the power to communicate.

One of the likely outcomes of a stroke is aphasia, effectively the loss or severe reduction in the ability to use spoken or written language. Aphasia can have other causes too, and treatments include teaching sufferers a rudimentary form of sign language - gestures, basically - to allow them to communicate non-verbally.

For stroke sufferers, many of whom also suffer from a degree of paralysis, this isn't easy, requiring one-on-one therapy, which is expensive.

However, the City University team reckon a computer program linked to a motion control system might make for a cheaper alternative - and one that aphasia sufferers could use in their own home.

"Gesture tracking and recognition technologies are becoming a ubiquitous part of new computing and gaming environments," said Stephanie Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCID) at City University London. "We will evaluate the suitability of such technologies in aphasia rehabilitation.”

Hence the new research programme, conducted in collaboration with the Stroke Association and backed by £300,000 worth of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Jane Marshall, Professor of Aphasiology at City University London, said: "Computer-based treatments have been shown to improve verbal language skills in previous studies, but this is the first time that gestures will be addressed."

The team said they will develop a prototype rig that will allow users to practise gesturing and receive instant feedback.

According to the Stroke Association, around 150,000 Britons a year suffer from strokes, while some 45,000 new cases of aphasia will be diagnosed. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Microsoft confirms secret Surface will never see the light of day
Microsoft's form 8-K records decision 'not to ship a new form factor'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.