NBNCo and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) have teamed up to test remote rehabilitation therapy for stroke victims.
The project involves using the Nintendo Wii, a motion-based video gaming console, on the National Broadband Network (NBN).
It aims to assess the feasibility of remotely monitored rehabilitation therapy for stroke patients in regional areas where services are difficult to obtain.
At a press event at the NeuRA facility in Randwick, a patient demonstrated the use of console using Wii Sports, one of Nintendo’s most popular titles.
NeuRA CEO, Professor Peter Schofields, clarified the project is not a Nintendo exclusive trial. With Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 both coming out with their own motion sensor gaming peripherals, the rehabilitation trial will open up to encompass a broader range of consoles.
“While the pilot work is being done on the Nintendo Wii, it’s because its something that is commercially available now,” Schofields said. “… This is a demo specific project to assess the feasibility of this technology.
“If the project works, the platform should be independent of this.”
Trials will initially run for two weeks per patient and will coincide with the NBN network rollout. The overall trial will run for six months.
NBNCo chief executive, Mike Quigley, said he envisioned the project to involve a camera to send video feeds of patients using the Wii so therapists can monitor an individual’s progress.
Quigley has donated his first year salary of $2 million dollars to fund this project.
Minister for Health and Aging, Nicola Roxon, and Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, also attended the event.
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