Wii Balance Board Substitutes for Costly Medical Equipment

Nintendo’s Wii Balance Board, which typically costs about $100 (and comes with a game), is performing on par with $18,000 medical equipment when it comes to assisting stroke victims regain their balance.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne and Singapore General Hospital tested thirty subjects who were “without lower limb pathology.” After running four types of tests, the researchers reported that the Wii Balance Board outperformed the expensive laboratory-grade force platform (when it came to minimum detectable changes) in three out of four tests for assessing standing balance in patients.

Researcher Ross Clark told the New Scientist:

The low price of the Wii kit is now seeing it used to assess rehabilitation after stroke, traumatic brain injuries and to examine standing balance in children who were born pre-term.

I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up.

Catching terrorists, helping stroke victims… what’s next for the little Wii accessory?

|Via Gizmodo|

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  1. 0
    sharpshooterbabe says:

    I think this is amazing. & the rehabilitation center didn’t have to look far for this device to help their patients. More positives coming out than the negatives of video gaming. :)



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. 0
    lordlundar says:

    How so, because something desined for entertainment purposes is performing better than specialized equipment? That isn’t new. PS2’s and PS3s are being used in arrays for supercompiuters because they’re more efficiently designed than the specialty equipment  for a fair bit cheaper.

  3. 0
    Ratros says:

    Either someone is really incompetent, or Nintendo is a miracle worker.

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  4. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    No, seriously, with all the sporting and "healthy lifestyle" campaigns out there praising Nintendo, makes me wonder what the Vitality Sensor’s going to do. Bio-feedback and behavioral health programs helping people control energy, emotions, maybe even overcome seziures.

    No, I don’t think Nintendo will abandon games completely, but we may see a steady stream of Wii-like cycles: Marios and Zeldas once in a blue-moon, but non-gaming practical programs that serve a (NO!) logical purpose (blasphemy!).

    It’s great and sad at the same time.

  5. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Yeah, I’m just teasing.  I have to admit, I’m impressed with the amount of support that peripheral is getting compared to others like the Wii Motion Plus and especially Wii Speak.  Still, the games that support the Balance Board so far don’t interest me.  Maybe Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll will be awesome (it will have Chiquita brand bananas this time!).


    Andrew Eisen

  6. 0
    kagirinai says:

    Speak for yourselves; the WiiFit Plus minigames are hilarious. I’d pitch for a full length game on the balance board too, but I imagine I have more stamina than the average gamer.

  7. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    "what’s next for the little Wii accessory?" <— Well certainly not being effective at getting Fit, so it’s a good thing it has other uses.

  8. 0
    MarcL says:

     Actually, it makes some kind of sense.

    Yes, the assumption may be that the medical market has a huge profit margin, but thats partly because up until now there was very little use for this type of tech.  While the need for it was great, there were very few customers for this kind of thing, so anyone developing the tech had to make a decent profit off of each sale.


    Some hastily researched numbers, so forgive any errors here:

    5,815 registered US hospitals (from the fast facts site of the American Hospital Association)

    56.14 million (as of September 30, 2009) Wii shipped world wide (taken from the wikipedia entry for the wii)

    The number of people who can utilize the tech, thanks to the success of the Wii, is now about 10,000 times larger, so they can have a smaller profit margin per balance board and still make a lot more money.

    I know that this research doesn’t take into account that hospitals may not have this tech or may have more than one, or that there are other customers other than hospitals.  It also treating the consumer for the wii boards as every person that owns a wii, which is incorrect.  This is just a generalization.


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