Microsoft Kinect goes medical

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:

Research at Washington University involving Microsoft Kinect.

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):

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):

Microsoft Kinect is used for brain injury therapy, Parkinson's symptoms therapy, and therapy following hip or knee joint replacements.

Here are some examples:

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.