‘Kinect’ Technology Used to Help Workers with Disabilities

Updated: 07/23/2013 7:23 AM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart

The same technology that makes your kid able to interact with video games is now being used to help people with disabilities.

Wayzata-based technology firm RBA developed new software using the Microsoft Kinect motion sensor technology to help workers at Opportunity Partners.

The St. Paul organization employs people with disabilities to work small jobs. Opportunity Partners' Nate Tyler says, "Our goal is to start them out in settings like this where we can start them with hands-on training. But our goal is to get them into more independent placement and work as we go along."

The technology uses a Microsoft Kinect device along with a computer and projector to train workers to learn how to assemble a product. It is interactive and repetitive for those that may need more help.

Jamie Chlan, who works for Opportunity Partners, calls the new technology a big help and says it really beats using the old, still photocopied instructions.

"Now that we have this, it is so much easier, at least for me. I can see it, I can hear it if I need to and I can replay it as much as I need," Chlan said.

Jay Lendl, with RBA, says the company is proud to have worked on a use for the technology that can help people.

"To take that technology and not only affect one person's life but maybe hundreds of people is really exciting," Lendl said.

RBA was recently recognized by Microsoft with the 2013 Worldwide Partner of the Year award for their use of the Kinect technology for good citizenship. They are currently working on expanding the software for other uses.