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Microsoft testing Kinect therapy system for soldiers

The US military and Microsoft are trying to simplify therapy for injured soldiers

Microsoft and the United States Air Force are testing the Kinect as part of a home therapy physical suite program for injured soldiers. Microsoft will also be discussing the project with Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center, according to reporting by Defense News. The Kinect hardware is partnered with Infostrat's ReMotion360 physical therapy software.

“Microsoft is committing R&D and marketing resources to ensure that the [Defense Department] community is aware of the capabilities of the product, as well as the breadth of our partner community, which includes the system integrators,” said Microsoft director of public sector solutions Phil West. “The targeted scenarios include therapy-related functions, but they also span training and simulation, interactive user interfaces, and so on.”

The project is part of Microsoft's efforts to use the Kinect outside of the consumer market, with focuses on enterprise and public sector utilization. Other defense-related organizations, including Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, Army Medicine, the Navy's Bureau of Medicine, Lockheed Martin, SAIC and CACI, have looked at the inexpensive motion-tracking capabilities of the Kinect for different purposes.

Microsoft is also looking into using the Kinect to connect post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers with group therapy sessions.

“They can use avatars, which allows anonymity, but also allows for representatives who are therapists or licensed psychiatrists to connect with them,” West said. “Therapists can say, 'I know who you are because I have your case file. No one else in the room has to see in your face.' It gives a way to engage and talk through problems while preserving anonymity.”

[Image via Xbox UK]

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