A clinical application for the Nintendo Wii in neuro-rehabilitation

The Nintendo Wii offers a chance for neuro-rehabilitation therapies to be both challenging and motivating, This project is a feasibility study.

Department: School of Systems Engineering, Systems Engineering

Supervised by: William Harwin

The Placement Project

A new computer game console, the Nintendo Wii, appears to have a great potential for neuro-rehabilitation in that it has two of the three essential ingredients, it encourages movement, and it can be highly motivating. The lacking third element, the ability to direct the person's movement, may be added by other elements in a neuro-rehabilitation package, for example by using an intelligent sling suspension mechanism. There are of course many disadvantages, the chief one for a clinical application being the lack of knowledge about the movement of the person's arm. This is despite the sophisticated set of sensors is packaged into the games interface (the wii-mote). This summer placement will investigate how best to capture the information from the sensors in the Wii-mote interface and how best to process this information to estimate the nature of the movement, and hence summary statistics that will have clinical relevance. Two methods of logging data from the Wii-mote, will be considered, the first is an intercept technique where the data from the games interface is first sent to a laptop computer, and from there transmitted to the games console. The second is a dummy games interface that is located close to the actual games interface. Both techniques must be evaluated based on the technical feasibility, the clinical practicality and the quality of the resulting data.


The student will need about 2 weeks to become established and to assemble the software packages to log data from the wii-mote. A further two weeks will be used to evaluate the two approaches (intercept or dummy interface). A further week will be needed to discuss strategies with the RBH physiotherapists that are compatible with current clinical practice. The remaining time will be on data analysis culminating with a short and informal presentation of results to the RBH PT research group.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

The student will require programming skills ideally in a C++ related program such as Visual C++, Csharp, or G++. Good mathematical skills are essential and the ability to use the Matlab program would be advantageous. The student must also have good interpersonal skills and be willing to work with people who have a strong clinical background.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

The student will likely enhance their mathematical skills, in particular by applying their skills to a simple biomechanical model of hand and arm movement. They will also gain experience in talking and presenting ideas in a clinical setting. A student who does not have computer games experience will enhance their manual skills during the process of evaluating this approach in its proper context.

Place of Work

Hours of Work

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 30 June 2008 - Friday 29 August 2008

How to Apply

Applications should be via email with a c.v. attached. The applications should be made to

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