The Xbox Kinect was not just a gaming gimmick that was last Christmas’ Tickle-me Elmo; it was a truly ingenious device that opened up a shitload of possibilities. Earlier this year, I saw it being used in an Aphex Twin concert to create some astounding visuals, and now a group of Singaporean students in Temasek Polytechnic have used it to create the Therapy and Rehabilitation Assistant, or TARA.
TARA uses the Kinect’s ability to detect a person’s body movements to help doctors quickly diagnose the severity of a person’s stroke condition. Previously, doctors had to use a ruler to manually measure the range of a victim’s limb movements one at a time.
It then uses some simple mini-games in a tailored TARA program to help rehabilitate the victim, for even further help. Apparently, the group of students (known as “Team ElderGuardian”) took only four months to develop this program.
Not only did TARA give Santa a few more reasons to give these kids something for Christmas this year, but it won the top prize at the Singapore finals of the Imagine Cup, Microsoft’s student technology competition. Of course, back then it was called the Elder Rehabilitation and Support System, which doesn’t have a nice acronym at all.
TARA is currently undergoing pre-clinical trials for commercial use, but I don’t think it’s going to show up at your local gaming store anytime soon.
You know it’s funny: gaming used to cause medical problems, like epileptic fits and obesity, and now it’s gone on to help solve medical problems too.
And just in case you stumbled across this post because you were googling Tara Reid, here’s a wallpaper of her before she got INCREDIBLY trashy, to compensate for your time. No really, there was a time before she was trashy, you know? I just rewatched Van Wilder the other day, and she’s pretty hot back then.