Microsoft Kinect Used for Chiropractic Research

Dennis Faas's picture

The Microsoft Kinect peripheral for the Xbox 360 video game console has been manipulated several times in the past to foster innovation, including one that provides virtual sight for the blind.

The latest Kinect hardware hack looks to benefit those in the chiropractic and massage therapy fields by identifying areas that require additional attention in the back and spinal area.

Kinect Hack Maps Human Body for Treatment

Jason Stevens, a researcher at New York University's Interactive Technology Department utilized a video projector and the OpenKinect Libraries programming tools to modify the device.

He reasoned that by exploiting camera depth perception, the video projector could be altered to relay the Kinect's output directly onto the client's body, resulting in a colorful guide for the therapist to follow.

The hardware hack does not cause the Kinect to rely exclusively on these bright spots and colors to offer best practices and treatment options, but rather, possesses the ability to actually decipher the distance and movement of the human body. (Source:

"Flow Field" Reveals Treated Area

Here's how it works: while the therapist massages and moves the different parts of the body, Kinect translates these movements into a designated "flow field".

The flow field is then projected back onto the client's body so that the therapist can see the lines that have already been treated. In doing so, more time can be dedicated to neglected areas, or areas of concern can be revisited at a later time in the session (depending on the severity of the pain for each client). (Source:

Clients Monitor Own Therapy Sessions

Of course, the hardware hack is still a work in progress and growing pains are expected in light of its infantile stage of development.

Still, there have already been talks of manipulating the device further to attain even greater results. Stevens expressed an interest to some day add even more visual aids like live video for clients to observe their flow fields and monitor the course of their therapy session from start to finish.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet