Kinect, Microsoft’s motion sensing input device for the Xbox 360, does not just distract Mergeflow employees from working. Apparently it also helps improve medical imaging.Recently I did a search on “medical imaging” in Mergeflow. I was interested in recent updates in technology blogs because these blogs often provide interesting “food for thought”. So I narrowed down my “medical imaging” search to technology blogs and posts from last month only.
As a first step, I wanted to see links between companies, organizations, people, and technologies in my search results. I used a graph in mergeflow to display the results. In this graph, besides “the usual suspects” (big players in the field such as Siemens), I noticed a relatively small but interesting sub-graph that linked Microsoft Kinect technology to Washington University:
I zoomed in on the link between Washington University and Kinect, and got the following results:
Now I was curious to learn more about Kinect in medical or health applications in general. So I searched for Kinect AND medic* OR health. This revealed a whole range of additional Kinect applications in medicine (besides improving medical imaging):
- rehab support, e.g. solutions by companies such as RespondWell (http://respondwell.com/), or low-cost, portable, in-home solutions for gait analysis (e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26626555).
- support for Parkinson’s patients, e.g. a solution for speech articulation analysis (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26620259).
- determine human weight from an RGB image (http://gtp.autm.net/technology/view/31304).
I also ran a more structured analysis of Kinect medical applications. To do this, I selected an “anatomy terms” tag cloud and zoomed in on some of the terms (marked red in the screenshot below):
Here are some examples:
- brain — improving therapy for brain injury patients (http://phys.org/news/2015-09-mover-technology-therapy-brain-injury.html).
- muscles — a Kinect-based system that can detect and relief one of the most serious symptoms of Parkinson’s, freezing of gait, which unables all muscles of a patient to move (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/293322.php).
- knee joint — using Kinect for assessment of hip and knee joint angles (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26002604)
Altogether, this shows how relatively cheap and easily available technology spreads from one field (gaming) to a different sector (medicine and health care). And I think it also shows how mergeflow’s cross-sectional and cross-information-type approach can help find such developments.