CGI is a fixture of modern movies. The technology is also used in video games, of course, and among its uses is representing the facial and mouth movements of actors on computer-generated characters. Now, that technology is being used at San Diego State University to help children with cerebral palsy, and the people who help them learn to speak more clearly get better results.

The Idea

The motion-capture technology used in making movies and other forms of entertainment is used to capture the motion of CP sufferers when they try to speak. This can give researchers a great deal of information about the physiology involved when people with CP that prevents them from communicating effectively attempt to speak. Children were asked to say words and the motion-capture technology recorded their movements. It’s hoped that this can help speech therapists and other professionals learn how to help their patients more effectively, simply by making it easier for those therapists to understand what’s going on when someone with a speech impediment attempts to vocalize a word.

Computers and Medicine

Computer technology of many different types has taken a prominent role in treating many different medical conditions. The motion-capture technology being used here can collect data that researchers can use to glean a greater understanding of how they could help people. Just about every new use of computer technology in medicine has offered breakthroughs. This one, hopefully, will prove no different.

New Treatments

Unfortunately, access to treatment is dictated by access to money. Some of the children participating in this study may, indeed, benefit from what has been learned, but treatments like these can be very expensive and many people simply will not be able to afford them until they become common enough that they’re more affordable.

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