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'Wii Fit' Balance Board Gives New Meaning to Baby-Mobile

Nintendo has suffered through a fairly miserable summer. The Xbox 360 recently seized the Wii's established position at the top of the console sales charts, and Sony continues to encroach on Nintendo's once dominant peripheral standing. The revered company definitely experienced some admirable breakthroughs, though, particularly with 'Wii Fit.' The American Heart Association now promotes the game, the armed forces plan to shape-up recruits with it and various universities rely on it to diagnose sports-related concussions.

The 'Wii Fit' balance board may be used in the near future to actually mobilize infants, as well as special needs children who may not be able to fully control their own movements and extremities. To accomplish that feat, researchers at Ithaca College have stacked a 'Wii Fit' board (with an attached baby seat) on top of a robotic, motorized chair. The Fit-scooter employs "responsive pressure sensors in each of [the balance board's] four corners" so a seated tyke can control it simply by leaning in any direction. Built-in sonar also reportedly steers wayward babes away from dangerous obstacles or collisions, and an override joystick allows cautious parents and caregivers to commandeer the kid-carrier at any time.

Continued scientific research and formal studies still need to be performed, but the results of preliminary tests can be found in the group's original presentation to the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America.

Tags: ithaca college, IthacaCollege, Motorized wheelchair, MotorizedWheelchair, research, robotic chair, robotic wheelchair, RoboticChair, RoboticWheelchair, special needs children, SpecialNeedsChildren, top, Wii, wii fit, WiiFit