Researchers at the University of Melbourne have proved that a Nintendo Wii balance board can be used to review "rehabilitation after stroke" and "traumatic brain injuries".
"I wanted to know if it would be any good for assessing the standing balance of patients," the New Scientist quoted study author Ross Clark, as saying about the balance board.
He believed that if the centre of pressure of a person's foot was measured it would be useful to a physio helping someone relearn how to stand. And "force platforms" needed to do that were priced over 11,000pounds, thus being inaccessible to many physio clinics.
So Clark and team at Unimelb tore down a Wii balance board and hacked into its strain gauges and accelerometers to tap into their raw data.
Clark said: "We found the data to be excellent. I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up."
Now, in a report that has appeared in the journal Gait and Posture, Clark's team has confirmed that the board's data is clinically comparable to that of a force platform.
"The low price of the Wii kit is now seeing it used to assess rehabilitation after stroke, traumatic brain injuries and to examine standing balance in children who were born pre-term," Clark added.