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Xbox for Stroke Rehabilitation 147

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-your-way-to-a-healthier-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Using an Xbox modified to run Linux, researchers have developed virtual reality hand exercises for rehabilitating stroke patients. An inexpensive glove controller is used to interact with the Xbox. The hardware cost is a tenth of a comparable commercial hand rehabilitation system, leading to the possibility of deployment in patients' homes."
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Xbox for Stroke Rehabilitation

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  • Interesting... (Score:5, Informative)

    by andrewman327 (635952) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @02:38AM (#16057710) Homepage Journal
    A quick Google search [google.com] shows that there is definitely interest in such a system. By utilizing a redily available asset, they are making it cheap and easy for both patient and developer.

    In case you are wondering what exactly the big deal is about stroke rehab, here is a snippit of a government factsheet [nih.gov]:

    In the United States more than 700,000 people suffer a stroke* each year, and approximately two-thirds of these individuals survive and require rehabilitation. The goals of rehabilitation are to help survivors become as independent as possible and to attain the best possible quality of life. Even though rehabilitation does not "cure" stroke in that it does not reverse brain damage, rehabilitation can substantially help people achieve the best possible long-term outcome. What is post-stroke rehabilitation? Rehabilitation helps stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged. For example, these skills can include coordinating leg movements in order to walk or carrying out the steps involved in any complex activity. Rehabilitation also teaches survivors new ways of performing tasks to circumvent or compensate for any residual disabilities. Patients may need to learn how to bathe and dress using only one hand, or how to communicate effectively when their ability to use language has been compromised. There is a strong consensus among rehabilitation experts that the most important element in any rehabilitation program is carefully directed, well-focused, repetitive practice - the same kind of practice used by all people when they learn a new skill, such as playing the piano or pitching a baseball.
  • Re:Wouldn't... (Score:5, Informative)

    by toejam316 (1000986) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @02:58AM (#16057762)
    Indeed, but, fortunately, it doesn't require a modchip. all it requires is for you to softmod the Xbox, and possibly replace the Harddrive in it (to make it easyer for Linux). Softmodding, for the uninformed, is a exploit in a few games save game systems (Mech assault being one of them), which allows unsigned code to be run. using a hacked save, it runs a linux program and adds Evolution X (a Dashboard replacement) and a few other bits and pieces to the Xbox. Nifty eh?
  • Re:Wouldn't... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dormann (793586) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @03:12AM (#16057791)

    It is possible to install Linux on an xbox without a mod chip or even opening the box. It involves loading a "baited" savegame that triggers Intel's infamous buffer overrun and does some reworking of the device's startup files.

    However, as best I can recall, the DMCA doesn't care whether you're using a physical chip. It's just the act of circumventing a protection scheme that's illegal. So yes, the DMCA has still been violated.

    They could have avoided breaking the law by working on this humanitarian project only after leaving the United States.

    Either of these scenarios should make DMCA-loathers smug.

  • Game therapy (Score:4, Informative)

    by bm_luethke (253362) <luethkeb@comcEEE ... inus threevowels> on Thursday September 07, 2006 @04:40AM (#16057955)
    Sometime in the mid 80's I was diagnosed with several "learning disabilities". The only one I still carry to this day is Dyslexia (see my sig). Another one was reaction and hand eye co-ordination.

    For the latter the doctor told my parents to get me to play video games. They, at first, purchased me an (expensive at the time - nearly 3000 dollars) 8086. Unfortunatly for me (and thier money - it wasn't until my senior year in high school - '93 - that I became interested in computers) I never really got interested in it and picked up an Atari which I wore out. I've played video games constantly since then - it worked in my case. I'm sure they wished they had just bought the atari to begin with, but where happy I had something that I wanted to use that was also therapy for my problems.

    I sometimes wonder if the same treatment would be prescribed today given the current attitude towards games.

    The saddest part is that they had to hack the system to do this. I don't really know why they didn't use a PC and one of the free dev kits around - some are quite good (and many of the pay ones are free for research). Maybe they couldn't really find a replacement for the glove, but then it would seem easier to hack it into a joystick port than what they did. Ahh well, at least the research was done.
  • by StringBlade (557322) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @07:05AM (#16058248) Journal
    The act of circumventing the copy protection on the XBox (to get around the Dashboard) is illegal by the DMCA. The DMCA doesn't care if you use software or hardware mechanisms to circumvent (even poor) copy protection. Consider that the DMCA even applies to copy protection on CDs that is activated with Autorun. By holding shift or disabling Autorun you're effectively circumventing that copy protection and therefore violating the DMCA in the strictest sense.

    There are a few exceptions as pertain to Fair Use rights, but the DMCA is not like a patent. It cannot be invalidated because the circumvention is "obvious" or "so easy a 3 year-old could do it accidentally". It's a broad, stupid, law written to protect those who couldn't deal with our court system and the existing copyright laws.
  • Re:Why an Xbox? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rosscoe (1000032) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @07:48AM (#16058359)
    One good reason is ease of use. Most stroke patients are elderly, in a lot of cases very elderly. Using a simple device like an xbox with a simple on/off switch will be far easier for them (and any carers) to use than a PC. Stroke patients often have problems remembering as well so the easier you can make it the better. And it's easier from a support point of view, but it would be easier still if it could be released as a proper xbox DVD so that no mods are required. I'm excited about this as my wife had a massive stroke last year and needs all the rehab she can get. This usually requires either lots of expensive kit or lots of visits to a rehab centre (which takes me out of work for a long time), cheap solutions like this one mean I can provide the rehab myself at home in my own time and reduce the cost to our health service.

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