Elon Computing Sciences


Schuyler K Goodwin (Dr. Shannon Duvall) Department of Computing Sciences

Physical Therapy requires that the patient complete daily exercise to facilitate the healing of their injury. However, sometimes it is hard for the patients to motivate themselves to do the exercises and difficult to see how it is affecting the healing process. Therefore, we would like to investigate the strengths and limitations of using the Microsoft Kinect to allow patients to assess their own physical therapy progress at home. Other research has been determined the Kinect’s accuracy for certain exercises, and we will be furthering that analysis with our research.

The first phase of this research was to assess the validity between the Microsoft Kinect and 3D motion analysis systems in measuring joint angles in the sagittal plane during gait. Twelve young adults performed 10 walking trials, at their self-selected speed, and data was collected by both the Kinect and a 12-camera setup in the Physical Therapy Department’s Biomechanics Lab. However, in comparison the Kinect showed poor accuracy in calculating the joint angles in the sagittal plane. However, previous work shows that for elbow exercises in which the subject is face-on to the Kinect, the Kinect data is in good agreement with the ones obtained from sophisticated measurement devices.

The next phase in the research is to determine, given these findings about the Kinect’s accuracy, whether or not a game can be developed to motivate at- home physical therapy for those exercises in which the Kinect is accurate. The game is based on the player being the orchestrator of a one-man band. It will feature mini-games and the score is based on the improvement in the exercises featured in the games. The presentation will include a demo of the game we developed and preliminary feedback from users and Physical Therapy professionals. Further we will draw conclusions about what is important in motivating a patient in Physical Therapy, how motivational the game is, and how effective the game is at showing the healing progress.