Software Developer Wants to Turn Rehab into a Video Game

A Romanian software engineer by the name of Cosmin Mihaiu and his colleagues have demonstrated a new way patients can recover from injuries at TED Conference in Vancouver. He came up with the idea from an arm injury he suffered as a child and he believes that rehabilitation exercises can be performed with the help of Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox.

“We need to come up with solutions to get patients motivated to get better,” Mihaiu told AFP. “No one likes treatment, but if we can make it in a way where people don’t think it is cumbersome they will get better faster and save costs.”

He invented a system called MIRA (Medical Interactive Recovery Assistant), which physical therapists can use and customize motion-controlled games to reward patients for doing prescribed movements. The system is currently designed to be offline and available in clinics, but Mihaiu is said to be working on an online version as well, which patients can use at home and share performance data with therapists.

“We don’t want to replace the physical therapists,” Mihaiu said. “We want to develop a digital pill that can be prescribed to help the patient get better.”

MIRA is currently being trialled in clinics from Britain and Romania, with an annual subscription price of several thousand dollars. Mihaiu states that there is a large market in the rehabilitation industry for software such as MIRA and unlike fitness games, medical games come with endorsements and follow-ups from doctors, nurses and therapists.

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