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Wii Gaming System Could Offer Radiologists an Alternative Way to View Patient Images

April 24, 2009

The popular Wii gaming remote may offer radiologists a fun, alternative method to using a standard mouse and keyboard to navigate through patient images, according to a study performed at the New-York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, NY. The remote may also offer radiologists relief from repetitive motion injuries as a result of using a mouse and keyboard.

“We have developed a new fun and exciting way for radiologists to navigate through patient images using hand movements instead of basic keyboard and mouse clicks,” said Cliff Yeh, MD, Matthew Amans, MD, and George Shih, MD, lead authors of the study. “The device from the Nintendo Wii gaming system has both an infrared sensor and an accelerometer, which when used together, can allow for flexible ways to interact with radiology images,” they said.

“All the basic features that a radiologist routinely requires can be performed using the hand held device. For this study, new software for viewing radiology images which interfaces with the Wii remote was developed in conjunction with computer scientists Lu Zheng and Michael Brown, PhD, both from the National University of Singapore, in Singapore and both co-authors of the study,” according to Drs. Yeh, Amans and Shih.

“The traditional keyboard mouse user interface limits the way a radiologist can interpret images and manage an ever increasing workload. The Wii remote may alleviate those limitations. In addition repetitive motion injuries may be mitigated by altering usage between a device like the Wii remote and the traditional mouse because they use different sets of muscles. Small movements can manipulate the image on the screen and buttons can change windows and move between different series’. It is a lot more flexible than just a simple mouse,” they said.

“The Wii remote along with the software the authors developed is currently just a prototype and is not FDA approved for clinical use. We are constantly updating the software,” said Dr. Shih, senior author of the study. “We can only hope that in the next twenty years the mouse and keyboard will be replaced by something like the Wii remote,” said Drs. Yeh, Amans and Shih.

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