Using the Kinect for Children with Behavioral Disorders

May 9th, 2012 by Kel Smith | Filed under Cognitive, Gaming, Innovation

Watching how children move their bodies while playing provides potential clues to a behavioral disorder. is a real giveaway. (Image: Raffaele Meucci/Superstock)

Watching how children move their bodies while playing provides potential clues to a behavioral disorder. is a real giveaway. (Image: Raffaele Meucci/Superstock)

At the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School in Minneapolis, studies are being conducted to determine if the Microsoft Kinect gaming sensor can be used to detect early signs of behavioral disorders, including autism. The University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development has developed computer-vision algorithms and integrated this technology with the Kinect gaming console.

According to this article in New Scientist, early detection is key because speech and interaction therapies work best when begun earlier in a child’s life. There are many subtle differences in symptoms among spectrum disorder kids, and the idea is that the Kinect may pick up certain tendencies in behavior. An experienced pediatrician may then have more detail to make a proper diagnosis:

“The idea is not that we are going to replace the diagnosis, but we are going to bring diagnosis to everybody,” Guillermo R. Sapiro says. “The same way a good teacher flags a problem child, the system will do automatic flagging and say, ‘Hey, this kid needs to see an expert’.”

Using the Kinect for children on the spectrum is not new. The Lakeside Center for Autism, located in the Seattle area, has been using the Kinect with their students since last year. Watch the video below for a peek:

The system will be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in St. Paul in May 2012.

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