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Video game uses Kinect to help stroke patients walk

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A video game called Rehabilium Kiritsu-kun, developed by Japan's Kyushu University and Nagao Hospital in Fukuoka, uses the Xbox 360's Kinect peripheral to help stroke patients walk, the Asahi Shimbun reports.

The video game directs players to stand up and sit down, thereby developing motor skills. As they play, Kinect's camera monitors their progress and causes a character resembling a tree to grow on-screen. Rehabilium Kiritsu-kun also provides feedback by displaying each player's progress, which they can track with a personal RFID tag.

A ranking system also provides patients with the incentive to perform. It was so successful that the researchers had to use the RFID tags to limit the number of times patients could play.

The game's inspiration comes from the Hayao Miyazaki animated film My Neighbor Totoro. The game's beta was tested by 82 patients, who increased their repetitions by an average of 17 to 23 percent.