Game controllers help identify torticollis

March 21, 2012

Remotes for the Nintendo Wii gaming system have been known to do everything from sharpen a player’s tennis skills to help rid the world of zombies. So perhaps it’s not surprising that they can also help identify children who have ocular torticollis.

Rockville, MD-Remotes for the Nintendo Wii gaming system have been known to do everything from sharpen a player’s tennis skills to help rid the world of zombies. So perhaps it’s not surprising that they can also help identify children who have ocular torticollis.

As described in a recent article in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, researchers have developed a low-cost digital head-posture measuring device with Nintendo Wii remotes, or “Wiimotes.”

“Accurate measurement of the angle of the abnormal head position is crucial for evaluating disease progression and determining treatment or surgical plans in parties with ocular torticollis,” said study author Jeong-Min Hwang, MD, of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Korea.

Dr. Hwang and his colleagues point out that electronic devices such as the motion-tracking capability offered by Wiimotes may present a good alternative to attempting to obtain reliable data in clinical practice, where children’s heads move constantly.

The researchers used two Wii controllers to develop an infrared optical head tracker (IOHT) that automatically measures and records the angle of the head in real time. The remotes were connected to a monitoring computer with an infrared camera and Bluetooth connectivity. The IOHT was evaluated for accuracy, validity, and reliability by comparing it with the cervical range-of-motion (CROM) device, one of the most widely used head-posture-measuring devices in hospitals.

Results demonstrated that in measuring the head posture of normal adult subjects, the measurement of the one- and three-dimensional (3-D) positions of a human head with IOHT were very similar to those of CROM. There were slightly more deviations of measurements between IOHT and CROM than the researchers expected in 3-D movement of the head, which the researchers attributed to the structural nature of CROM rather than inaccurate measurement of IOHT.

The research team hopes this new tool will play a key role in diagnosing ophthalmic conditions. “Considering its high performance, ease of use, and low cost, we believe IOHT has the potential to be widely used as a head posture measuring device in clinical practice,” they wrote.

For more articles in this issue of Ophthalmology Times eReport, click here.

Related Content:

News | Pediatrics