The EyeToy is a digital camera with technology that uses computer vision and gesture recognition to process images. By using the camera, placed on top of the television, it can place the user inside of the game he is playing.
“With our method, patients look into the EyeToy and see their images projected on TV,” says Dr. Joseph Haik, plastic surgeon and burn specialist at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. “The game recognizes their gestures and shows them to themselves on screen, helping them adjust to what they look like post-burn. That can help combat depression, improve self-image, and encourage patients to move on when other occupational therapies fail,” he explains.
Haik also says that an important part of healing is getting used to scars on different parts of the body. Using the EyeToy can be the first step in accepting a new self-image.
“This game, which projects a person’s body into the game, presents their injuries in an original way,” he explains. “Getting an early understanding of how a patient looks to others is critical for overcoming self-image problems later on. By showing the patient ‘inside’ the PlayStation game, we distract them from some of the immediate physical trauma and pain, which they gradually learn to accept through game playing.”
The EyeToy may also help therapists speed up the process of rehabilitation. No changes to the Playstation are needed to use the EyeToy and all of the games are contact-less. “Some doctors prescribe virtual reality game play that requires the patient to wear special equipment, putting them at risk for infection. But our approach doesn’t require the patient to touch a thing,” says Haik.
Researchers are looking to start formal clinical trials on this type of therapy.