A piece of technology which was initially meant to entertain people will now end up saving their lives. Yes, we are talking about Kinect and the various hacking that has been done with it. But we are going to restrict ourselves to hacking of Kinect which has been done to enrich medical science. Recently, a group of engineers from University of Washington have hacked Kinect and came up with something that would help doctors perform surgeries. Since then a number of rewards have been announced for open source hacking of Kinect. The implications these new technologies would have on people, are yet to be fully realized since it is only in the infant stages. But, if what we have seen in the past few weeks is anything to go by, then this technology will become a necessary tool for saving human lives in the near future. In this piece of writing, we are going to take a look at some of the best medical breakthroughs that has been achieved by hacking Kinect.
Head-Mounted Kinect Makes For Rudimentary Artificial Vision:
Created by two grad students named Michael Zollner and Stephen Huber from Universität Konstanz in Germany, this Kinect hack would help blind people in a big way by giving them an artificial vision. The system looks rudimentary and homemade, but the use it has, is immense. NAVI (Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired), as it is called by its creators, aims at improving indoor navigation for the visually challenged people by using the Microsoft Kinect camera, a vibrotactile waistbelt and markers from the AR-Toolkit.
Magic Mirror for Medical Data Visualization using Kinect:
Created by Tobias Blum and other researchers from Technical University of Munich, this Kinect Mirror helps in giving the doctors an augmented reality vision of the patient. This mirror can also give a glimpse into the patient’s internal body structure (skeleton) when he stands in front of it. The bones of the patient can be seen using a 3D image like CT or MR.
Gesture Based Tele-Surgery Using Kinect:
Recorded in the Mock OR of the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR), at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, this gesture based tele-surgery helps in fine and precise manipulation of surgical tools while conducting complicated surgeries. It does so by using a kinect and a da Vinci robot equipped with custom software which is used for non-clinical research purposes only.
UW Students Hack Kinect to enable robotic surgery:
Here the concept is to make conducting surgeries safer for doctors by using virtual environments. This has been created by Fredrik Ryden, a Grad student from Sweden, who is now working with a team of professors at the University of Washington. He reprogrammed a Microsoft Kinect system to provide for sensory feedbacks by hacking into it.
Researchers Develop Interactive Therapies:
Researchers at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California is busy in creating high-tech computer generated programs to help wounded soldiers on the battlefield which could also help civilians in the future. They have come up with an interactive computer program for war veterans which would help them get rid of war traumas. Here a computer generated military veteran would act as a counselor for the soldiers. The researchers are also working on a system by modifying Microsoft Kinect to rehabilitate the physically challenged soldiers. This system uses a 3D Kinect camera from the Kinect system in order to interact with the soldiers who need help in their daily lives.
Medical practice finds use for Kinect hack:
Researchers at the Institute of Forensic Medicine’s Virtopsy Project at the University of Bern, have found a use for Kinect 3D cameras whereby it gives touch free input for their systems if it is plugged into a OsiriX PACS. This provides the doctors with hands free controls. It is possible that in the future this technology could be used in more areas of medical science.