I love these kinds of stories. Last week Gizmodo posted In Early Tests, $99 Wii Balance Board Outperforms $17,885 Medical Rig which was initially reported in New Scientist’s Wii board helps physios strike a balance after strokes. Basically, the story revolves around a paper published by Ross Clark in which Clark’s team compared a $99 Wii Balance Board (used in gaming and exercising while connected to the Wii console) to an almost $18,000 force platform. The paper confirms that the $100 device is clinically comparable to the $18k device. As reported by New Scientist, Clark says:
The low price of the Wii kit is now seeing it used to assess rehabilitation after stroke, traumatic brain injuries and to examine standing balance in children who were born pre-term.
Kudos to Clark. Not kudos that a $100 device can do the work of an $18k device (after all, medical devices are not expensive because they’re necessarily hard or costly to make but because they don’t sell in high volumes). But, Kudos because Clark is thinking outside the box — the technology in our cell phones and calculators today is more sophisticated than many medical devices and it’s great to see researchers doing evidence-based reporting to show clinical “efficacy” of these devices.