Microsoft’s Kinect sensor isn’t just for playing games — it’s also being used to help physical therapy patients recover from injuries in more efficient ways than ever.
One company making this possible is Jintronix, a Seattle-based startup that is set to raise a $1.2 million round led by Madrona Venture Group.
The company, which moved its business operations to Washington from Montreal in 2012, uses the Kinect motion-sensing technology to help patients recover by playing games designed for rehab.
“We are very much focused on reinventing the rehabilitation space,” CEO and co-founder Daniel Schacter told GeekWire.
Jintronix also allows doctors to obtain more precise, meaningful data. Using the new Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, the company’s software can capture 25 joints on the human body at a rate of 30 times per second, all in a 3D space.
This allows Jintronix to detect how fast a patient is moving, how much range of motion they have, at what angle their joints can move — all data that clinicians can use to calculate things like shoulder compression and scapular shift.
Schacter noted how most physical therapists today take simple notes like, “patient could move their arm higher.” Jintronix, on the other hand, can provide more precise data like how many degrees an arm moved higher, or how many centimeters a scapular shift decreased by.
“This allows both the clinicians and patients to see what is actually happening in terms of progress,” Schacter said.
The data can also be used for prevention studies. For example, Jintronix’s product is being used to analyze the high risk of falls for older adults — a problem that’s costing the U.S. healthcare system quite a bit of money. Jintronix wants to measure exactly how much patients are swaying or shifting so they can prevent falls.
“If we have a system that can detect falls ahead of time because of data, doctors can give a patient a walker or cane well before they fall and cost the government money,” Schacter explained.
Jintronix can also be used in the home, where patients do physical therapy from their living rooms and have step-by-step directions along with immediate feedback included in the software.
The game aspect of Jintronix, meanwhile, helps patients have a little more fun while they perform their exercises.
“When patients are in a gaming environment and have to reach forward to grab a ball and throw it, they don’t realize they are doing an exercise for balance,” Schacter said.
Jintronix, which has raised $2.5 million to date and was an inaugural member of the Kinect Accelerator incubator program in 2012, sells its hardware and software to a variety of customers including the Shriners Hospital and University of Washington Medicine. The company, which is seeing a 20 percent month-over-month increase in product usage, plans to use the fresh funds to hire more employees and increase spending for sales.