Gaming System May Help Improve Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Xbox One Kinect platform shown to be effective helping walking gait issues in patient with multiple sclerosis.

The Xbox One Kinect can provide users with more than just technologically advanced gaming.

A new study found that it may be a cheap and effective tool for evaluating walking gait difficulties in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Microsoft Kinect is a 3D depth and motion sensing input device for Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows PCs, that provides users with a natural user interface to allow them to interact intuitively, minus the use of intermediary devices.

In a study published in IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, researchers wanted to determine if the Kinect could accurately and consistently detect differences in walking gait in MS patients, compared with healthy individuals, reported Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

For the study, researchers enrolled 10 MS patients previously assessed for gait abnormalities using traditional methods. Researchers captured and recorded each patient’s walking movement using the Kinect device.

Researchers also evaluated the controls, which consisted of 10 age and sexed matched individuals. Once the data was collected, researchers developed computer algorithms to quantify gait characteristics of both groups, according to News Today.

The results of the study showed that when the Kinect camera’s measurements of gait characteristics was analyzed using algorithms, that they were reproducibly consistent. The characteristics obtained by the algorithm were also correlated with clinical measures of gait.

Researchers determined that the algorithms were able to mathematically define MS gait characteristics at different severity levels, and could accurately determine an individual’s level of gait abnormality.

The study’s findings allowed investigators to establish the potential feasibility of using a Microsoft Kinect camera in a clinical setting, and it could help clinicians better diagnose gait pathology, News Today reported. Furthermore, it could potentially be used to more accurately determine if medication is effective for improving a patient’s gait.

“Our developed framework can likely be used for other disease causing gait abnormalities as well, for instance Parkinson’s disease,” said lead researcher Farnood Gholami. “The next step is to conduct a study with a larger group of MS patients including evaluation in a gait laboratory, and using a newer version of the Kinect device that promises to improve accuracy.”

Microsoft’s Kinect was first launched in North America for Xbox 360 in November 2010. A non-commercial Kinect software development kid (CDK) for windows followed and the much anticipated release of Xbox One, the successor of Xbox 360, on November 22, 2013.