Wii Board Helps Physios Strike a Balance after Strokes

When Ross Clark read in New Scientist that the US military considered the Nintendo Wiimote controller accurate enough to control bomb disposal robots, it set him thinking. Could the Wii’s skiing and snowboarding attachment, the balance board, help rehabilitate people who have had a stroke? I wanted to know if it would be any good for assessing the standing balance of patients, says Clark. He reasoned that being able to measure the centre of pressure of a person’s foot will be useful to a physio who is helping someone relearn how to stand. Yet the lab-grade force platforms needed to do that cost more than £11,000 — putting them out of the reach of many physio clinics. So Clark and his colleagues at the University of Melbourne, Australia, took apart a Wii balance board and hacked into its strain gauges and accelerometers to tap into their raw data. We found the data to be excellent. I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up

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