Stroke patients to get Wii therapy over the NBN

NBN Co CEO donates $2 million to fund the project

The NBN Co has begun selling the National Broadband Network’s (NBN) benefit to the health sector, announcing that stroke patients will shortly receive Wii-based therapy over the network.

The initiative, run by the NBN Co and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), will see the NBN used to deliver remote rehabilitation therapy using Nintendo’s Wii gaming device.

The therapy will see participants take part in ten one-hour sessions at home over a two-week period. During this time a therapist based in Sydney will supervise patients using video images and sensor data relayed over the NBN to analyse the patient’s movements and provide feedback.

According to NeuRA’s Dr Penelope McNulty, initial tests of Wii-based therapy to improve stroke-affected hands and arms indicated that stroke patients could gain significant improvements to their ability to move after just two weeks of treatment.

According to NBN Co chief executive officer (CEO), Mike Quigley, the research project was an example of the way in which health services could be delivered to patients in remote and regional areas.

“As our population ages, neurological diseases will be a big cost to the community, and cost-effective, broadband-based health solutions will be of growing importance,” he said in a statement.

The project will be funded through the donation of $2 million by Quigley himself – equal to his first year’s salary as NBN Co CEO.