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Kinect Aids In $US4m Research Into Mental Disorders

The University of Minnesota has saved more than $US100,000 in research funds by using the Xbox 360 Kinect to aid in research on the diagnoses of mental disorders in children, according to a Minnesota Daily and AP report.

The Institute of Child Development, the University of Minnesota Medical School and the College of Science and Engineering, are exploring the use of technology to diagnose children who show symptoms of an array of mental disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder, according to the press release.

The University’s Center for Distributed Robotics developed a video monitoring system that uses several Kinect cameras mounted around a room. The cameras take video of children playing and sends the video feed to software which sorts the data and presents it to doctors.

“As a doctor, you don’t have tangible data,” professor Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, told the Minnesota Daily. “We try to provide the tools in order to back up claims of a mental disorder.

Papanikolopoulos says that he believes doctors will one day be able to use the Kinect to receive simplified data that can help with diagnoses.

And the Kinect replaces what would have been a more than $US100,000 system designed to essentially do the same thing. That system would have also required attaching sensors to children, rather than monitoring them mostly unnoticed.

“Something we can do three years down the line, we can do it today because of technology that was destined for the gaming industry,” he said. “I don’t think Microsoft has realised that (the Kinect) is something that could change medicine.”

Minnesota prof. uses Xbox Kinect for research [AP]