Recently I had the chance to try out the Nintendo Wii Fit system for the first time. I’ll plan to follow up with a post later on my thoughts on this device as a stroke rehabilitation tool. Since using the system and forming my own opinion, I wanted to research how other therapists might be embracing this emerging technology. In the short time I have been following this “Wii-habilitation” movement I have to say I receive 4-5 google alerts each day with updates from both therapy and gaming blogs using the term wii-habilitation. This post from a CNET News Blog caught my eye because it showed how cutting edge rehabilitation centers around the country are starting to receive research grants to study how effective Wii and other gaming devices can be to help stroke survivors retrain lost motor skills and regain function.
“And now researchers at the University of South Carolina are turning the trend into a research project that will study exactly how well the Wii and other games can help stroke victims recover motor skills and overcome a fear of falling after their trauma.
The research is part of a new $2 million grant from philanthropic group the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which will be administered by the University of California Santa Barbara’s Health Games Research Center. On Thursday, the two organizations announced that 12 different research projects, including USC’s Wii project, will receive funding of up to $200,000 each to study how interactive games can be used to improve public health and the health care profession. The studies will last between one to two years.”