Case Study

Microsoft Research Assess MS

Microsoft Research Assess MS

How Microsoft’s Video Game Tech Could Help MS Patients

Cambridge Filmworks showcase innovative new technology as Microsoft and Novartis team up to deploy Kinect cameras and software to track the Multiple Sclerosis symptoms.

Multiple sclerosis patients may one day have the option of having an intelligent camera system track the disease’s progress, using super-precise measurements of physical symptoms to enable better, faster and cheaper treatments.

Microsoft Corp.’s researchers teamed up with pharma giant Novartis AG to develop a system called AssessMS, which uses the company’s Kinect motion camera and machine learning software to track movements, analyzing things like gait and ability to touch one’s nose with a finger.

Multiple sclerosis, which affects 2.3 million people worldwide, is an incurable and unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. For some it is fatal within a few years, while many others suffer physical deterioration over several decades. Most patients have what is called relapsing-remitting MS, where symptoms flare up and then improve, making it critical for doctors to track the severity of the disease over a period of time.

So Novartis approached Microsoft. Most multiple sclerosis patients are screened by a doctor every three to six months, and scored on their movements. Microsoft, working with three of the top MS clinics in Europe, set up a system to do the same evaluation.

Microsoft’s prototype mounts a Kinect motion-sensing camera (originally designed to accompany the company’s Xbox video-game consoles) on a screen, asking patients to do things like extend their arms and hold still, or touch their extended hand to the tip of their nose and then repeat with eyes closed. The camera collects precise data on the patient’s movement, indicating the degree of impairment.

Please watch the film to see this groundbreaking technology in action and to find out more about the AssessMS project please visit:

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