Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Project Natal" can help get kids moving?

Microsoft is working on a a sensor that tracks a person's full body movements. So far it is called "Project Natal" and will work with the Xbox 360.

The Wii system has shown promise in health applications (USA Today Article), and so has Dance Dance Revolution (New York Times Article). Project Natal promises to have a larger application than these two platforms because the games will no longer require a controller and will allow the user a greater range of motion.

So far there is not a release date, but it was demoed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in Jun. Click here to see the demo.

From Microsoft:
Compatible with any Xbox 360 system, the "Project Natal" sensor is the world's first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, "Project Natal" tracks your full body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in your voice.

In addition, unlike other devices, the "Project Natal" sensor is not light-dependent. It can recognize you just by looking at your face, and it doesn't just react to key words but understands what you're saying. Call a play in a football game, and players will actually respond.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Are your social networks making you fat? Lab discussion readings

A recent NYT Sunday Magazine cover story summarizes the work of Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler on the Framingham data.  The find social network changes to predict obesity, smoking and happiness over 20 years, with specific network features accounting for different outcome behaviors.

I have the NYT article and the journal articles on my Health web site, at Look at the article of the week for the NYT piece, and at Week 1 readings for the journal articles.

Comment at will, & read for Wednesday.
On Wednesday we will also begin discussing potential grant applications.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mainstream Media Health Article of the Week

Rx versus XXX: androgen deficiency is the newest way for Boomers to delay (deny?) getting old. Rather than viewing a little slowing down, less sex drive, a little extra around the waist as natural signs of aging, middle aged (ha!) men are convincing themselves they are in "andropause". Andropause, of course, being a medical problem, can be "cured" with (what else...) a drug: testosterone. But is 'T' any better than, say, a little porn for revving the androgens? Click the title for an article.