Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guitar Hero for Wii and fine motor control

William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City is using the Wii as part of therapy for burn victims. Many patients recovering from burns have skin grafts, and flexing, stretching, and moving the skin is an important part of therapy.

Guitar Hero uses a wireless guitar-shaped controller. The player "strums" a bar-shaped button on the body of the "guitar" and presses buttons on the neck of the "guitar" to select notes while following along with songs on the monitor. The game requires finger dexterity, and it has different modes and levels so that people can progress to more difficult movements. Playing games such as Guitar Hero that require movement of the fingers can help patients regain fine motor skills in the hands and also improve coordination. For patients with skin grafts on the hands or arms, the game can help them practice moving and stretching the skin as it heals.

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