Son develops visual-based, Kinect-powered email system for stroke-stricken mother

The blog Dad Hoc brings us the story of a custom-developed Kinect-powered email system, which was built for a stroke victim who suffers from aphasia, a disorder caused by damage to the parts of the brain that process language, making it difficult to read, speak or write.

My mom has lived with aphasia ever since she suffered a serious stroke twelve years ago. In the meantime, there’s been a revolution in communication – powered by social media. Like a lot of people, I use the phone less. One of my areas of interest has been bridging the digital “keyboard gap” for people like my mom.

The system uses a Kinect sensor with the SimpleOpenNI library for processing along with some gesture recognition code to generate a dashboard with which the user can select a mood and then qualify it to create basic sentences such as “I am feeling somewhat happy” or “I am feeling very groovy.” It then sends them along in an email. Future plans include user-tested interface improvements.

“Mom too easily changes the message as she makes her way to the send button,” writes Dad Hoc.  ”The next version will have wider channels between emotions to avoid inadvertent selection.”

Possible future features may include RGB Kinect camera snapshot capabilities and a blogging component, allowing for broadcasting of the completed message. This is not the first time that we’ve seen the Kinect used for applications in health care. As part of the Kinect Accelerator earlier this year, GeekWire’s Todd Bishop interviewed Jintronix, a developer of a virtual reality solution for physical and cognitive rehabilitation. Jintronix CEO Justin Tan came up with the idea after his father also suffered a stroke.

These types of stories are pretty much all you need to restore your faith in the goodness of humanity on this Monday afternoon.

Previously on GeekWireMicrosoft sees a future for Kinect avatars in health care