Monday, 31 October 2011

Will Wii-U become WiihabU?

It is anticipated that in 2012 Nintendo will release their new Wii console - the Wii U.  With the Wii still growing in popularity amongst healthcare professionals it is interesting to consider whether the Wii U will follow suit.

The Wii U is a new base unit boasting high definition graphics, a large hard drive and a new form of console/controller interactivity.  The 'old' Wii controllers will continue to be compatible alongside the Wii U playing Wii games.  The Wii U moves away from supporting Gamecube discs but this barely relevant to those interested in Wiihabilitation.

Whilst the new console is set to compete with Sony and Microsofts HD gaming consoles the Wii U dares to be different.  The new controller will act as either a stand along screen, so it can be used without a TV or as a second screen, much like the DS.  The second screen function goes way beyond the capabilities of the DS which offers a static alternative view to the same game.  The Wii U controller offers a dynamic view or a window into the game that previously never existed.  An example of this has been demonstrated with a golf game, where the new controller, placed on the floor shows the golf ball which is ready to be hit as the player swings the wii remote. Once the player has swung the wii controller the ball is digitally lauched from the Wii U controller onto the TV in front of the player.  The following trailer on YouTube gives a clearer demonstration and is well worth a viewing.

So what does this mean for WiiHab?
It will largely depend on the price of the console.  Many rehab specialists who use the Nintendo Wii may not be inclined to spend more until specialist software is released.  Finances and specificity aside the Wii U has some interesting features that are worth looking out for.

The potential interaction with the local playing environment and perceptual development that the Wii-U requires may offer an additional dimension to therapy, coupled with the increased precision that will undoubtedly be required to play many of the new games.  The need for the control unit of the console to be held by two hands will unfortunately limit its use for those with hemiplegia or one sided weakness.  This feature doesn't write it off within therapy as the control unit will also act as a viewing platform, away from a TV, but it will decide whether software is useful within the rehab gym or not.  It is reassuring to hear that the current controllers will remain compatible with the new console as this will reassure people that whilst the console it new the fundamental controls will remain familiar.

Even if the Wii-U doesn't capture the imagination of the therapy arena, the Wii will undoubtedly remain for the foreseeable future and continue to be used to motivate fitness recovery, movement control and enjoyment in therapy by a spectrum of therapists and patients.

Read more about the Wii-U here.

1 comment:

  1. Wii Sports games are based more on the move, while Wii Play game is based primarily on pointing. Unfortunately, sports games Wii Sports are simple to the extreme.

    Wii UK