Using A Video Game To Help Kids Walk
by Perry Michael Simon on April 19, 2011
There’s nothing wrong with using game consoles to just play games, but it’s amazing what people can do with them with a little… no, a LOT of ingenuity. This, for example: Some mechanical engineering students and game designers at Rice University, working in conjunction with Shriners Hospital for Children- Houston’s Motion Analysis Laboratory, have taken a bunch of Wii Balance boards and created a system to help children with certain disabilities — cerebral palsy, spina bifida, amputations — to walk. They used a series of five Wii Balance boards, some handrails, a computer, and some game software that has the kids battle monsters with their steps, and the result is the Equiliberator, a game system that’s theraputic as well as fun:
The game increases the challenge as patients improve, and they’re looking at adding feedback from the handrails into the game to penalize relying on them too much. The whole thing cost less than $2,000 in parts, too.