Nintendo's kid-tested, researcher-approved Wii Balance Board has struck at the heart of the medical supply industry yet again -- this time, the Bluetooth-connected scale is being used to help physically challenged children at Shriners Hospital in Houston. Seniors at Rice University hand-machined a set of force-sensitive parallel bars and programmed a monster-shooting game called Equilibrium to get kids excited about improving their walking gait, where they can play and score points with each proper step they take. The game automatically ratchets up the difficulty as patients improve, and handrails will play a part too, with a custom three-axis sensor box able to detect how much patients rely on the parallel bars (and dock points accordingly) in an effort to improve their posture. Yep, that sounds just a wee bit more useful than the Balance Board lie detector or the Wii Fit Roomba. Video after the break.

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Students use Wii Balance Board for kids' physical therapy system (video)