Wii Balance Board Beats $18,000 Medical Equipment

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Wii Balance Board Beats $18,000 Medical Equipment

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The Wii Balance Board could end up saving lives someday, or at least helping out a bit.

Nintendo Wii controllers are finding many a use other than wild arm-flailing fun and embarrassing television destruction. Wii Remotes have already been hacked for science, and now the Wii Balance Board has been tested to be as "clinically capable" as an $18,000 piece of medical equipment.

University of Melbourne researcher Dr. Ross Clark heard about Wii Remotes being used in the scientific field and got to wondering if the Wii Balance Board could have a similar use. "I wanted to know if it would be any good for assessing the standing balance of patients," he told New Scientist. Up until now, $18,000 "force platforms" have been used to help patients relearn how to balance themselves after traumatic injuries or illnesses such as strokes. This cost puts them out of reach for many clinics.

Enter, the Wii Balance Board. Clark and fellow researchers were able to get their hands on one and hacked it apart for science. He relates: "We found the data to be excellent. I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up." Clark eventually published a paper where he and his colleagues determined that the Wii Balance Board sometimes exceeded the performance of a force platform, at roughly 1/200 of the cost. This means it "could provide the average clinician with a standing balance assessment tool suitable for the clinical setting."

Clark continues: "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." Amazingly, Nintendo accessories are helping scientific and medical communities all over. The next thing we know, we'll see the Wii Vitality Sensor used to measure people's vital signs. Wouldn't that be a sight.

Source: New Scientist via Gizmodo

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Finally more good news for the sake of both Science and gaming.

Edit:Oh and for people with medical problems I guess.

Thats awsome!

I'm curious to see what else they can pull off with other Wii Accesories.

The next thing we know, we'll see the Wii Vitality Sensor used to measure people's vital signs. Wouldn't that be a sight.

pfft, yeah, like that could ever happen...

Perhaps it could be used to bake cookies.

Now that would be awsome.

And the zapper can actually be used to shoot zombies!

What, none of you have shot a zombie? Pfff...losers.

Perhaps they'll make a Wii Deathconsole Accessory, thet turns your Wii into a giant laser that can destroy one's enemies.

Furburt:
And the zapper can actually be used to shoot zombies!

What, none of you have shot a zombie? Pfff...losers.

I did. My mom's meatloaf is made with Las Plagas.

Hell yeah for the Wii!

... And medical science I guess.

Wow. I thought the thing was a piece of crap. Guess I was wrong.

Hmmm.... this, the vitality sensor, Trauma centre.... what next, Nintendo Healthcare?

Well, we know where Nintendo's going next.

Wiibodyscanner here we come!

Reggie Fils-Aime's response to the medical industry:
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Thats awesome. Putting games into good use inside the medical profession! Take that anti-gaming advocates!

you give the medical equipment commercial appeal and you'll get costs cut considerably. it's a wonder no-one in the industry thought of it first.

Well, funny how you can hear the evils of gaming explained by the same list over and over again, then read a story about how a gaming peripheral can outdo an $18,000 piece of equipment.

I love being a Gamer.

That $18,000 piece of hardware was a AAA hardcore balance test experience and Nintendo have ruined everything for people who appreciate a real hardcore force platform for serious patients.

Nintendo Wii: Proving every day how ridiculously overpriced medical equipment is.

As a scientist:

Do not be surprised at the high cost of such equipment! Before the Nintendo Wii, name one mass market use for such a product. Medical and scientific equipment is expensive because the items are not produced by the millions, the $18,000 force board likely is produced by hand in a small biomedical company, which assembles components whose manufacture has been outsourced to third parties.

Example:

I can build a device we use in our laboratory, a "scanning-probe head," for a couple thousand in parts, and a few days of labor, using things like solder and superglue.

Veeco, a company that specializes in such systems, will give me a system that performs identically but in a different configuration (and not user-servicable) for 20k.

And every time i break it, they charge about 4 k to fix it.

In short, companies that make such items have to charge a lot to cover the overhead associated with it. If it turned out that everyone in the world was going to buy their very own MRI system, you can bet they would drop in price once mass-market manufacturing caught up.

The Nintendo wii prototype cost much more than 18,000, i'll guarantee, but it was designed for mass production and distribution.

It's only a matter of time before Nintendo becomes the ruler of the universe.
You heard it here first.

Ghonzor:
It's only a matter of time before Nintendo becomes the ruler of the universe.
You heard it here first.

What are you tripping about? They already have!

That's the true purpose of Nintendo: JUST TO RULE US ALL!! JUST TO RULE US ALL!! JUST RULE US ALL!! JUST TO RULE- HRRKK! [gets smacked with a brick]

Why doesn't Nintendo stop making games and start curing cancer?

I am just pleased that it gives people the access to reasonably priced treatment.

Freshman:
Why doesn't Nintendo stop making games and start curing cancer?

Ah, but if they stopped making games, it wouldn't work.

All the people buying these things for silly 'games' is the reason they're cheap to begin with. XD...

That science benefits is just an indirect bonus that would go away if they stopped making games.

So... Help Cure Cancer! Buy more stupid Wii games. ;p

More Fun To Compute:
That $18,000 piece of hardware was a AAA hardcore balance test experience and Nintendo have ruined everything for people who appreciate a real hardcore force platform for serious patients.

You win funniest post on the escapist for the day.
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holy crap, nintendo may not have made the best videogame system but they aparently made a kick ass science system

Once again, Nintendo proves that it is run by geniuses and will also never die.

Ghonzor:
It's only a matter of time before Nintendo becomes the ruler of the universe.
You heard it here first.

Theres a bomb in every wii, theyre ready to conquer everything and destroy the infidels, I perdicted that years ago. Mr. Urahara....

Freshman:
Why doesn't Nintendo stop making games and start curing cancer?

Cause that isnt a mario game silly.

OT: Nintendo you have earned this.
image

Frumpy Mom: I uh... well...

...

thiosk:
As a scientist:

Do not be surprised at the high cost of such equipment! Before the Nintendo Wii, name one mass market use for such a product. Medical and scientific equipment is expensive because the items are not produced by the millions, the $18,000 force board likely is produced by hand in a small biomedical company, which assembles components whose manufacture has been outsourced to third parties.

Example:

I can build a device we use in our laboratory, a "scanning-probe head," for a couple thousand in parts, and a few days of labor, using things like solder and superglue.

Veeco, a company that specializes in such systems, will give me a system that performs identically but in a different configuration (and not user-servicable) for 20k.

And every time i break it, they charge about 4 k to fix it.

In short, companies that make such items have to charge a lot to cover the overhead associated with it. If it turned out that everyone in the world was going to buy their very own MRI system, you can bet they would drop in price once mass-market manufacturing caught up.

The Nintendo wii prototype cost much more than 18,000, i'll guarantee, but it was designed for mass production and distribution.

You should work for the government, they spend $2000 on wastepaper bins there too.

The world+dog knows medical companies arn't above extortion

More Fun To Compute:
That $18,000 piece of hardware was a AAA hardcore balance test experience and Nintendo have ruined everything for people who appreciate a real hardcore force platform for serious patients.

I laughed. Hard.

Yay for Nintendo!

The great circle of game systems:
The Wii peripherals helps when you are born and sick
The PS3's raw power cracks cyphers on CPer's computers
The 360's Natal produces the people for the PS3 to catch
:P

OT-This is interesting, and a little disturbing. Why do they charge 18k for something that can be made for 200?

j0z:

OT-This is interesting, and a little disturbing. Why do they charge 18k for something that can be made for 200?

There gaming goes, pushing technological boundaries again. :)
Mark my words, motion sensing controllers like WII and platforms like Natal will (if not already) be the basis of homebrew performance capture animation communities.

I think Joz, that those medical device sellers would've spent a couple million dollars in R&D. Then had to recoup that money in the specialist medical equipment market only selling to doctors/hospitals. Whereas Nintendo woulda spent those same $s in R&D, then recouped costs through the system it was bundled with, which could be sold to anyone with a TV.

DrDeath3191:
Reggie Fils-Aime's response to the medical industry:
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Oh thank you for that lol

j0z:
The great circle of game systems:
The Wii peripherals helps when you are born and sick
The PS3's raw power cracks cyphers on CPer's computers
The 360's Natal produces the people for the PS3 to catch
:P

OT-This is interesting, and a little disturbing. Why do they charge 18k for something that can be made for 200?

Because its called "spending waste". Think of it like the "stimulus package" its just money being thrown around to beat off some chair jocky.

Its just a money pit.

Used to be that the military got cool stuff that then become used for civilian things now Video game companies are coming up with cool stuff that is then used for civilian things.

Well done, now invent a flying car peripheral and we'll really be cooking.

Well, it's not socially worth 18,000 dollars. That freaking ski jump game is just embarrassing.

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