Kinect may diagnose childhood mental disorders

Tuesday, 15 March 2011 21:50 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Researchers have saved up to $100,000 by using Kinect to help diagnose mental disorders in very young children.

The Minnesota Daily reports researchers at Institute of Child Development, the University of Minnesota Medical School and the College of Science and Engineering have collaborated to create a video monitoring system based on multiple Kinect units.

By stationing the camera peripheral at several points around a room, and leaving children to play undisturbed, researchers have been able to monitor behaviour using open-source software.

As medical professionals get very few opportunities to observe children behaving naturally, and young children lack the capacities required for interview assessments, the use of Kinect may assist in identifying conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder.

According to researchers involved with the project, alternative observational methods are costly and less effective. Professor Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos commented that he was at first incredulous that a $150 Kinect unit could out-perform a $100,000 system. Project manager Vassilios Morellas said movement sensors attached to a child could prove intrusive and spoil results.

Thanks, Kotaku.