BioGaming, an Israel-based startup, has received FDA clearance for its YuGo Microsoft Kinect-based physical therapy system. Calls to the company for comment went unanswered and its website appears to be down.
Physiotherapists can use the system to create personalized gameified routines for patients which patients can then complete at home using an Xbox or a computer connected to a Kinect device. The system tracks patients' movements, automatically creating a record of the therapy.
"Adherence to traditional physiotherapy approaches is painfully low, and boring routines often demotivate patients and fail to improve patient health as intended," Dudi Klein, founder and CEO of BioGaming said in a statement last November, when the company launched its product in Europe and Israel. "We're taking the proven physiotherapy routines, real-time biofeedback and personal encouragement of sessions in the hospital or clinic and bringing it home. It closes the gaps in the current physiotherapy process to boost adherence, transform the therapy cost equation for providers, and empower our customers to deliver better patient outcomes."
Startups that use computerized motion tracking software, especially the Kinect, to facilitate physical therapy, are a small but growing niche in digital health. We rounded up some of the early players back in 2013, and the budding industry was also the subject of our "Kinect the Docs" paid report. Of those, only a few are FDA cleared and those clearances happened relatively recently. Seattle, Washington-based Jintronix got cleared in May 2015, and West Health spinoff Reflexion Health just got its clearance in November.
"For all of the digital and mobile innovations in the healthcare space, physiotherapy has been a bit left out. If telemedicine is enabling more cost-effective, convenient and connected healthcare, then BioGaming is the equivalent for the rehabbing of orthopedic injuries," Klein said in the same statement. "But our platform takes it a step further by making therapy into a game to be won. Patients who use BioGaming tap into something extra within themselves to do better in the virtual world and get better in the real world, which is a victory for patient, provider and payer."
As noted above, it's a little unclear right now what the status of BioGaming is. In addition to the company's website being down right now, emails to the company bounced back, and they are no longer working with the PR firm that managed their November launch. As such it's hard to say when, if ever, YuGo will be available in the United States.