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Wii-like technologies may help stroke survivors improve communication skills
Date:8/19/2010

Motion sensing technologies, such as the Nintendo Wii Remote, could be used in the rehabilitation of people with aphasia a language impairment, commonly caused by a stroke, that affects around 250,000 people in the UK1.

The research is being carried out by a team at City University London, in collaboration with the Stroke Association and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The aim is to develop an affordable, computer-based technology to help stroke survivors, who have limited spoken or written output, learn how to 'gesture' independently at home.

Gestures that can be readily interpreted by others are often advocated in aphasia treatment, but can be difficult for aphasic people to learn, because they have additional stroke-related disabilities, such as one sided paralysis. Gesturing can be improved through therapy, but one-to-one sessions can be costly and therapy resources are scarce.

The project will create a prototype system that enables users to practise gesturing, receive instant feedback, and master the movements through repetition. It will be run by a multi-disciplinary team from City's Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCID), and Department of Language and Communication Science.

"Gesture tracking and recognition technologies are becoming a ubiquitous part of new computing and gaming environments, ranging from Apple's touch-screen iPad through the hand-held Nintendo Wii Remote to Microsoft's forthcoming Kinect for the Xbox 360, which will track users' movements without the need for a handheld controller," says Stephanie Wilson, Senior Lecturer in HCID at City University London. "Whilst popular in gaming, we will evaluate the suitability of such technologies in aphasia rehabilitation."

Jane Marshall, Professor of Aphasiology at City University London, adds: "Computer-based treatments have been shown to improve verbal language skills in previous studi
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Contact: Luke Nava
luke.nava.1@city.ac.uk
44-207-040-8782
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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