By Aidan Appleby
Cosmin Mihaiu, a 26-year-old Romanian, co-founded Mira Rehab, which aims to make physiotherapy less monotonous for patients. Mihaiu claims that physical therapists have tried to use the Nintendo Wii with their patients, but that this system was designed for healthy people. Mihaiu is building on that concept, and designing video games that isolate specific muscle groups to better aid in the therapy process.
The movements in the program are mostly involving the shoulder, elbow, knee, and hip, as these are the parts of the body that most often require physical therapy. The games are simple enough that anyone can understand them, but fun enough that they accomplish their goal of making physiotherapy more interesting.
Emma Stanmore, a lecturer in nursing at the University of Manchester, says, “You can have a lot of patients using the exer-games at home, with the physio reviewing and keeping an eye. With the data that is remotely sent to the clinic you can very easily see if individuals are complying, improving and, if they are not improving, whether they need a visit.”
The games run on a standard computer, with a Microsoft Kinect attached to track movements. The system costs roughly $3,600, and has been tried at 50 hospitals, with 25 actively using the technology.
So far, the company has designed 14 games, with six more coming by the end of the summer. Mihaiu claims the company is working on cognitive games as well, to help with mental health.
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