New Scientists reports medical researchers are praising the Wii Balance Board as it has proven to be an excellent device to help stroke victims recover. Ross Clark and his colleagues at the University of Melbourne, Australia, found out that the gaming peripheral is accurate enough to perform the same kind of work as a lab-grade force platform that costs more than £11,000.
"I wanted to know if it would be any good for assessing the standing balance of patients," says Clark. He reasoned that being able to measure the centre of pressure of a person's foot will be useful to a physio who is helping someone relearn how to stand. Yet the lab-grade "force platforms" needed to do that cost more than £11,000 - putting them out of the reach of many physio clinics.
So Clark and his colleagues at the University of Melbourne, Australia, took apart a Wii balance board and hacked into its strain gauges and accelerometers to tap into their raw data. "We found the data to be excellent. I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up."