by Tony Craine, Medicine Iowa
With fists at chin level, a young video game player focuses on the television in front of him. He begins shadow boxing, throwing a series of punches and kicks. Meanwhile, on the screen, an animated character engaged in hand-to-hand combat faithfully reproduces all of the player’s punches and kicks in real time.
The player is not holding a controller. Instead, his movements are captured by Microsoft Kinect, a motion-detecting component of the Xbox gaming system. Kinect’s built-in camera and depth sensor use “computer vision” that allows the player to use his entire body as a controller. For gamers, Kinect turns video game play into a full-body experience, with all of the excitement and none of the danger.
But for a group of University of Iowa researchers, Kinect is not a game—it’s a tool to help understand how infections spread in health care settings. By employing Kinect’s computer vision in a hospital room, the research team is pioneering an automated approach to track interactions between health care workers and patients, capturing previously elusive data to support the work of hospital epidemiologists.
Story Source: UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room W319 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009