Brilliant Teens Win Top Honors with Amazing Kinect Hack

cassieandliuToday on NPR’s All Things Considered they featured a story about two high school students from Tennessee that recently won the team portion of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology with the help of Kinect.

Cassee Cain and Ziyuan Liu were first inspired when they played Dance Central.  “One day… at my house playing Kinect we got kinda curious about how the Kinect could see and critique our dance moves,” explained Cain. “This was something that sparked our interest.”

These young innovators used the Kinect sensor along with a robotic leg to analyze leg motions while walking. Their project analyzed the human gait. Considering many people working in rehabilitation do not have access to the expensive instruments traditionally used for gait analysis. The high school seniors will share the $100,000 grand prize in the team category for Kinect to analyze human walking patterns, work that could ultimately be used in prosthesis design and improvements for amputees.Science Competition

Kinect’s cameras and laser emitter were used to track points on the hip, knee and ankle. “Just by extracting those three points we were able to find the ‘knee angle’,” Cain said. “This is really useful for therapists, clinicians and prosthetists not only for fitting prosthetics, but helping people with therapy and rehabilitation.”

“We did research on stereo cameras and those cost usually around $2000 each,” Liu pointed out. “The Kinect is many, many more times affordable.”

“When further developed, their system could open avenues to bring personalized rehabilitation to the home,” said Sudeep Sarkar, a computer engineer at the University of South Florida and a competition judge. “This could potentially reduce medical costs, allowing clinicians to monitor a patient’s progress from a remote site.”

Of course, we’re thrilled to hear about this and many other ways people are using Kinect to help them make the world a better place for everyone. Congrats to these amazing innovators! We can’t wait to see what you do next!