Kinect for home monitoring and tablet for Parkinson's

Two Edith Cowan University student projects have been nominated as finalists in the 2013 WA Information Technology and Telecommunications Awards (WaiTTA), one for the development of an app for people with Parkinson's disease and the other for using Kinect for Xbox for in-home monitoring.

ECU computer science honours student Laurence Da Luz has developed software that uses the infra-red camera and movement sensor within an Xbox Kinect to track a person’s movements in their home and learn their daily routine.

According to ECU, it can identify when an individual’s activity is out of the ordinary, for example if they miss a meal or don’t get out of bed, and it has the potential to contact a family member through an SMS or email.

Mr Da Luz has designed the software so it can be set up easily and quickly. In addition to sending alerts, the system also provides an early warning function.

“It continuously monitors daily activity and converts the data into a downloadable graph, giving a wider picture of the individual’s behavioural pattern,” Mr Da Luz said in a statement.

“For example, it could show if they are sleeping longer or moving around less than they were a month ago. These can all be early warning signs for poor health.”

He said there were other in-home monitoring systems that use sensors attached to the body or clothing, or centralised monitoring systems, tended to be expensive and disruptive, whereas the Kinect for Xbox costs about $150.

Mr Da Luz is hoping to trial the software in an aged care setting. Further enhancements are envisaged to link the software to a smartphone app which will be designed to immediately alert a family member through push notifications.

The other project involved developing an app to track the progression of Parkinson's disease. Called the Parkinson iTest and designed by ECU computer and security sciences student Jose Alvarado, the app allows Parkinson’s sufferers to use their tablet to perform tests on muscle rigidity and tremors, the results of which can be sent straight to the patients’ doctors.

The tests include tapping and spiral exercises which demand co-ordination and control over motor movements. The results are saved and can be reviewed by the user to track their own progress as well as informing doctors.

“Our main goal is to ensure that patients communicate and share their results with their doctors between each appointment,” Mr Alvarado said in a statement.

The tests themselves were created by a separate team led by Robert Broadway, an IT engineer who has Parkinson’s disease.

Mr Alvarado said the app also had huge potential for neurologists who would be able to keep track of multiple patients and assist them to detect minor changes, prevent possible complications and adjust a patient’s medications.

“The app offers a solution that can be used anywhere on the world, not just Australia,” he said. “Any person with a tablet and internet connection will be able to download, test and share their results with their neurologists.”

Test results are kept secure and backed-up via cloud technology, which has the added benefit of keeping a backup of patients’ data should they lose their tablet.

The WaiTTA awards, to be announced next week, will see the winners go on to represent WA in the national iAwards, organised by the Australian Computer Society and the Australian Information Industry Association.

The iAwards will be held in Melbourne in August.

Posted in Aged Care


0 # Bruce 2013-06-05 14:40
I am so glad to see Kinect being used in care scenarios.
0 # Dr. Nicole Brooke 2013-06-05 16:42
Do you have any contact details for me to get in touch with the developers/dist ributors of the Parkinsons app and the Kinect please?
0 # Nan Little 2013-06-06 04:16
I am also interested in receiving the Parkinson's app.
0 # Bill Sturgeon 2013-08-15 08:42
I am also interested in receiving the Parkinson's app.

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