Falcon Xbox 360 touch controller helps rehabilitate injured soldiers

San Francisco (CA) – Novint Technologies and SimQuest have announced plans to collaborate on a rehabilitative video game that will help improve cognitive, motor and sensory performance in soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The nascent video game is expected to run on the Xbox 360 platform in conjunction with the Novint Falcon high-fidelity touch controller. The Falcon – which will deliver realistic forces corresponding with the task being performed – is also capable of delivering corrective or cuing forces to further enhance treatment.

For example, a patient attempting to reach for an object may not be able to control the trajectory of his or her hand movement. However, the Falcon  establishes spatial limitations on movement with a gentle counterforce that gently guides the patient’s arm along its proper trajectory.

“The sense of touch is extremely powerful when used as a rehabilitative aid,” explained Novint Technologies CEO Tom Anderson. “Novint is pleased that its touch technology can contribute to the recovery efforts of returning servicemembers experiencing the effects of traumatic brain injuries.”

According to Anderson, application of counterforce has been shown to decrease tremor and improve accuracy of movement in patients with neurological deficits. As such, the inclusion of touch technology in the game will also be particularly beneficial for soldiers who have lost their hearing and sight.

Novint describes its Falcon as an “entirely new type of game controller” that replaces mice and joysticks. Indeed, the device allows players to control a game in three dimensions, while feeling high-fidelity three-dimensional force feedback from virtual objects, environments and characters.