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How motion capture technology could help stroke patients

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Data gathered from motion capture technology could help patients improve their ability to move after suffering a stroke, a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden indicates.

Published earlier this month, the thesis (PDF link) explains that researchers employed 3D motion capture technology most commonly used in the film and video game industry to study 111 subjects, 29 who had not suffered a stroke and 82 who had.

Researchers identified four measurements — movement time, movement smoothness, angular velocity of the elbow and compensatory trunk displacement — as the "most effective in discriminating among individuals with moderate and mild impairment after stroke and healthy persons." Using data gathered from five cameras to perform "kinematic analysis" on participants who drank from a glass could help medical professionals design targeted rehabilitation techniques.

"Computer technology provides better and more objective documentation of the problem in terms of the everyday life of the patient than what human observation can provide," said researcher Margit Alt Murphy. "With 3D technology, we can measure a patient's movements in terms of numbers, which means that small changes in the motion pattern can be detected and can be fed back to the patient in a clear manner.

"Our results show that computerized motion analysis could be a complement to a physician's clinical diagnosis and an important tool in diagnosing motion problems."

This new research is the latest in a series of studies that have employed video game technology. A game developed in Japan uses Kinect to help stroke victims walk. In January 2013, U.K. researchers announced a project to help stroke victims using a system powered by Kinect. Studies from 2013 suggest that our brains crunch physics like video games and that multitasking video games help improve brain function.