Drawing by Phyliss Tarlow (fineartamerica.com)

In an earlier post, I spoke about a passion for the intersection of digital and sport, and specifically the work of accelerators like Nike Accelerator, and RockHealth.  Another example caught my eye today, this time of some work that Microsoft is undertaking with the US Air Force, to leverage the skeletal tracking capabilities of Microsoft Kinect to provide physical therapy to veterans and injured soldiers.

There are a number of underlying trends here, that bring health, wellness and sport ever closer together in the digital domain.  Microsoft Kinect brings positional and skeletal tracking as a natural user interface upon which innovative solutions can be delivered.

By bringing this natural user interface together with off the shelf physical therapy packages for range of motion improvement, we can imagine the democratization, availability and accessibility of digital healthcare, in a cost effective and scalable manner.

You can see in this video, how such a system would work – the user-experience needs some work.  The patient is prescribed an exercise, and the system can give real-time feedback as to whether they are performing their rehabilitation correctly, and gauge their improvement over time.  Results can be stored directly to an online health vault, such as “Microsoft HealthVault”, which allows personal medical information to be securely stored, and made available at the patient’s discretion, to the appropriate medical professionals providing care.

The availability of low-cost hardware intersecting with powerful software algorithms, natural user interfaces that can observe and measure position and movement, allows us to deliver low-cost devices for digital health and sport.

The ability to process that information in real-time, to cloud-deployed solutions that can provide digital coaching, or digital feedback on physiotherapy, along with the ability to capture, store and securely share progress and performance with trusted advisors, delivers us that associated services for digital health and sport.

The seamless integration of these devices and services, is an opportunity for us to democratize access to best-in-class healthcare for treatment, and best-in-class coaching for preventative healthcare and fitness/wellness.

It’s a tremendously exciting intersection to be in and around.