Dad hoc blogger Chad Ruble shared a heartwarming video (embedded above) showing how he modified a Microsoft Kinect to help his mother send simple emails.

Twelve years ago, a stroke impaired his mother’s ability to use language ability. This condition is called aphasia, and in some cases, can prevent a victim from speaking, reading or writing. Ruble created a new interface for his mother using the motion-sensing controller, check it out:

The first step was coming up with a visual “dashboard” to help her compose simple messages. Each icon is associated with a specific emotion, which can then be qualified by an amount. I used a Kinect with the SimpleOpenNI library for Processing along with some gesture recognition code from Matt Richardson to track the position of my mom’s hand. I then used a sample Processing sketch from Daniel Shiffman to generate and send the email by using the green arrow button. The red “X” resets the screen … In the future, I plan to add other “boards” and “pages” later to allow for a greater variety of messaging, but maintaining a super simple interface for my mom. (Via CNET)