University of Southampton, Roke develop new system for stroke patients

19 June 2012 (Last Updated June 19th, 2012 18:30)

The University of Southampton and Roke Manor Research, a Chemring company, are currently working on the use of Microsoft's Xbox Kinect system to help support stroke patients.

The University of Southampton and Roke Manor Research, a Chemring company, are currently working on the use of Microsoft's Xbox Kinect system to help support stroke patients.

The new system, which leverages Xbox computer technology, is the world's first process that measures hand joint movement to help stroke patients recover manual agility at home.

Roke healthcare business sector manager, Simon Wickes, said that strokes are the largest single cause of severe disability in the UK and it is estimated that every year, half of the 100,000 stroke patients experience upper limb problems.

"The university team has proceeded to create an algorithm that captures the data while the patients follow exercises on a TV screen."

"This project could make a significant difference to the wellbeing of those affected," Wickes added.

"Not only is it a cost effective out-of-the-box solution, by reducing patient recovery times it could also have a positive impact on the £2.5bn which the care and rehabilitation of stroke patients cost the UK health and social care system each year."

The new system, which is used for home-based physiotherapy care, has already been launched in the UK.

The university team has proceeded to create an algorithm that captures the data while the patients follow exercises on a TV screen, in turn helping people recovering from a stroke to do more regular exercises for faster recovery.

The collected data will be fed back to the therapists caring for the patient, which will allow continuous progress monitoring and will reduce the need for frequent hospital visits.

University of Southampton health sciences faculty and project supervisor, Cheryl Metcalf, said: "Using the Kinect, we have been able to take a commercially available product and develop a highly novel tool that aims to be both cost effective and clinically applicable."